Tales from the C. difficile trenches by ProQuest


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									  CMAJ                                                                                                                                News
Tales from the C. difficile trenches
Admitted to hospital for pneumonia, the
retired man was visited every day by
his wife, who helped feed and care for
him. Then he contracted Clostridium
difficile from a roommate and had to
be transferred to intensive care. Next,
his wife was admitted to another part of
the hospital — with C. difficile. She
was too ill to visit him as he lay dying
and too sick to attend his funeral.

         true story, one that Dr.
         Michael Gardam tells to bring
         home the human toll of an
                                              The Scarborough Hospital

infection that is so often transmitted in
hospital. “Things like this happen in
hospitals and telling them is how we
recognize the impact that hospital-
acquired infections can have on
patients,” explains the director of infec-
tious disease prevention and control at
                                                                          Registered practical nurse Connie Storr at a Vernacare machine, a disposal unit for
the Ontario Agency for Health Protec-                                     fibre-disposable receptacles and maceratable wipes.
tion and Promotion.
    The case also helped to spur change
at the Toronto Western Hospital, says                                       There had been initiatives to bring        if you work on this unit, you have to be
Teri Arany, nurse manager for a gener-                                   down rates in the past but early suc-         able to wash your hands. I sent them for
ally internal medicine ward.                                             cesses later fell apart. Part of the prob-    a dermatological consult.
    In other instances, change has been                                  lem was that because rates were reported          One person did have a bona fide
more systemic, says Dr. John Wright,                                     by units, they were being blamed, along       reaction, so we worked with a derma-
who was appointed president of the                                       with the nurses who worked within the         tologist to find an appropriate hand-
Scarborough General Hospital in 2008.                                    units. We realized we needed to think         cleaning solution.
The General was prompted to act after                                    broadly and create a strategic plan. We           We made expectations very clear,
the province of Ontario began public                                     had to trust the expertise of units and       referred to professional guidelines and
reporting of hospital C. difficile rates                                 give them the resources and time to           had one-to-one chats with every staff
and the institution had the dubious dis-                                 create a sustainable practice. In the past,   member. A lot of the difficult work was
tinction of topping the list.                                            infection prevention and control had          soft work.
    Edited transcripts of conversations                                  always been viewed as someone else’s              Another lesson was around the proper
with Arany and Wright about their                                        problem — this is just one of the chal-       wearing of protective equipment and
experiences with C. difficile are pre-                                   lenges that we had.                           clothing. Often nursing and housekeep-
sented below.                                                               When a hand-hygiene pilot project          ing staff were not comfortable engaging
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