Clean Hands Week and C. Diff

Sep 20, 2017

Hospitals are where we go when we are in need of treatment and healing. But that healing touch comes with a chance of spreading a potentially fatal infection: c. diff colitis.

This is clean hands week and a good time to talk about c.diff, a dangerous bacterial infection of the colon that can be easily transmitted, especially in hospital settings.

In an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association, a doctor explains that c. diff is an infection that thrives in hospital environments and preys on those who have prior antibiotic use, are at an advanced age, or have other medical risks. The medical field is beginning to implement preventative programs for c. diff infection rates.

The keys to program success, as outlined by an article from Johns Hopkins’ website, are elements such as well-trained staff, meticulously cleaned environments, monitoring antibiotic use, isolation precautions, and sustaining evidence-based practices within hospitals.

C. diff has not only the  physical effects of diarrhea, fever and cramping, but also the costs of extended facility stays, higher medical bills, and broken trust. Healthcare facilities are recognizing they need to do more when it comes to cracking down on c. diff rates, but patients should also not be afraid to speak up and ask their providers to take extra precautions.

Fekety, R., & Shah, A. B. (1993). Diagnosis and treatment of Clostridium difficile colitis. JAMA: Journal Of The American Medical Association, 269(1), 71.

Content for this segment was created by McKenzie Elam as part of a project for SC301: Foundations of Health Communication, taught by Ms. Clubbs.