C. difficile is one of the many types of bacteria that can be found in feces (bowel movement), and has been a known cause of health care-associated diarrhea for about 30 years. C. difficile is not new. Although people may lately associate it with health care settings, it doesn’t come from hospitals, long-term care homes or laboratories. It is widely distributed in the environment and is found in the human intestine, occurring naturally in 3-5 percent of adults (more commonly in the elderly) without causing symptoms. Once in the stomach, the bacteria usually will not cause any problems unless the other bowel bacteria are disturbed, which can happen when antibiotics are taken.
The use of antibiotics increases the chances of developing C. difficile diarrhea as it alters the normal level of good bacteria found in the intestines and colon. Without the presence of the normal bowel bacteria, the C. difficile bacteria may start to grow and produce a toxin that can damage the bowel and lead to watery diarrhea, fever and abdominal pain or tenderness.
On a daily basis, HDGH conducts surveillance for, and tracks C. difficile in the facility. Now, starting next week, using the new standardized criteria, HDGH will take a further step and share its findings formally – on a monthly basis. Previously HDGH’s infection rates were incorporated into its Patient Safety Monitor Report issued publicly at board meetings and posted on our website every quarter.
For more information about the pubic reporting of patient safety performance indicators click on FAQ & News Release.Reports
HDGH C. difficile January 2011 to March 2013
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