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October 29, 2015

Collaboration of teams helps prevent disease transmission, including C. Diff

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As director of infection prevention at Ascension Health St. Thomas Midtown in Nashville, Gail Fraine, describes the relationship between her team of infection preventionists and environmental services as "minimizing risk and increasing safety when it comes to preventing disease transmission."

"We collaborate and discuss issues and changes to processes or products. For instance ATP testing is performed on all positive C.diff discharge patient rooms. Rooms that are positive are re-cleaned, re-tested and must pass before releasing the room for the next patient," noted Fraine.

Recently a survey associated reusable sharps containers with transmission of C.diff. "There is a very low probability that reusable sharps containers play any role in disease transmission," said Fraine. "This facility has not had any correlation and we have used them for more than five years."

Despite ECRI listing sharps injuries as a "top 10 health technology hazard, a proactive exchange of reusable sharps containers allows hospitals to minimize disposal SIs. "We changed to a sharps management service and saw a decrease in needle sticks," said Fraine.

A factor affecting disease transmission rates beyond Fraine’s and the environmental services team’s control is urbanicity given the large clusters of people in a metropolita areas. "Typically we see more antibiotic resistant strains in urban areas and therefore more C.diff," said Fraine.

Preventing C.diff can be done on the front end with hand hygiene, isolation, clean environment and equipment, and a check list. On the back end, ATP testing immediately lets teams know how they are doing and can keep passage rates high (95 percent or higher).


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