- According to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection directly causes approximately 15,000 deaths out of approximately half a million infections each year. However, through gathering data on this problem, providers are seeking better methods of managing hospital-acquired conditions.
“C. difficile infections cause immense suffering and death for thousands of Americans each year,” said Tom Frieden, MD, MPH and CDC Director. “These infections can be prevented by improving antibiotic prescribing and by improving infection control in the health care system. CDC hopes to ramp up prevention of this deadly infection by supporting State Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs in all 50 states.”
The study indicates that patients aged 65 and older are most likely to be susceptible to C.difficile. Approximately one third of patients who are diagnosed with the illness are aged 65 and olde. Two thirds of older patients acquire the infection during hospital visits.
Patients who take antibiotics are also more likely to be diagnosed with C.difficile infections. Over half of hospitalized hospitals will be given an unnecessary antibiotic during their stay. Antibiotics can suppress the good bacteria in a patient’s body, making them more likely to pick up the illness during their stay at the hospital.
A separate CDC study showed that if hospitals reduce the amount of antibiotics given to patients by 30 percent, then the rate of hospital-acquired infection for C.difficile could drop by over 25 percent.
With this gathered data, CDC has taken steps to help hospitals improve the rate of hospital acquired conditions such as C.difficile. In its budget suggestions for fiscal year 2016, the CDC outlines programs to utilize the information it discovered through data analytics. The State Antibiotic Resistance Prevention Programs would work with healthcare facilities in all 50 states to prevent hospital acquired conditions.
“The discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th century fundamentally transformed human and veterinary medicine,” says the proposal. “Antibiotics now save millions of lives each year in the United States and around the world. The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, however, represents a serious threat to public health and the economy. The CDC estimates that annually at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States alone.”
A previous report on HealthITAnalytics.com, showed that failure to prevent hospital acquired conditions could result in serious patient safety problems. UCLA Health System in California had been linked to the death of two patients. Up to 170 patients were put at risk after dirty endoscopes infected with carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) caused a major stir for the hospital. A lack of antibiotic stewardship throughout the country, poor hygiene monitoring, and the overprescribing of antibiotics creates the continued problem of patients being exposed to hospital-acquired conditions.