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Most C. Diff Infections Start in Healthcare Facilities

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 7, 2012

5. Providers should wear gloves and gowns when treating patients with the infection, even during short visits. "Hand sanitizer does not kill C. diff.  and handwashing may not be sufficient," McDonald said.  "It is important to note that once C. difficile germs get on a healthcare provider's hands, they are harder to get off so it is much better to avoid getting them on your hands in the first place."

6. Providers, especially housekeeping staffs, should clean room surfaces with bleach or another spore killing disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"There needs to be concerted action across different facilities," McDonald said. "And this is something somewhat new. We think the health department especially has a particular role to bring different facilities together."

In a phone interview after the news briefing, McDonald said the CDC is working with state health departments to develop a standard, perhaps one piece of a licensing and certification requirement, that would require healthcare facilities to have a procedure to test for C. difficile infections and notify downstream providers, with penalties, with penalties or licensing issues if they fail.

In an accountable care kind of organization, McDonald continued, insurers and providers, "would be very interested in knowing that their hospitals and other providers would be doing this. But these (policies) are in the early stages (of development)," he said.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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