Trust records lowest Clostridium difficile rate

Posted on in Hospitals, The trust

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had its lowest ever level of trust apportioned Clostridium difficile last year.

A total of 41 trust apportioned cases of Clostridium difficile were recorded in 2018/19 compared to 48 the previous year – and safely below its annual target of no more than 54.

Clostridium difficile (also known as C. difficile or C. diff) is bacteria that can cause diarrhoea. In addition to diarrhoea, sometimes the infection is associated with fever, loss of appetite and tummy pain and it can spread easily to others.

Staff at The James Cook University Hospital, Friarage Hospital and the trust’s community hospital wards constantly strive to minimise any risk of infection to patients.

Every case of Clostridium difficile is reviewed to identify learning points and continue to improve practice.

“Prevention is a true team effort,” says deputy director of nursing Helen Day.

“Case reviews and improvement plans involve many teams including nursing and medical staff, microbiologists and our cleaning staff, who are managed by Serco.

“Getting the basics right is paramount in the prevention of the spread of this infection – we have a real focus on handwashing and environmental cleaning.”

The trust’s infection prevention and control specialist nurses are also out on the wards working with staff every day, teaching and performing surveillance of processes and practice.

Gill Hunt, director of nursing and director of infection prevention and control said: “Our figures for 2018/19 show we’ve seen the lowest level of trust apportioned Clostridium difficile ever recorded at the trust.

“This is a fantastic achievement, but any avoidable infection is one too many so it’s essential that we continue to do everything we can to tackle this issue.

“We would like to say a massive thank you to all of our staff who work so had every day to make sure that the risk of infection to our patients is minimised.”

Everyone can help reduce the risk of spreading Clostridium difficile:

  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, particularly after going to the toilet and before eating – use liquid rather than bar soap
  • Clean contaminated surfaces (such as the toilet, flush handle, light switches and door handles) with a bleach-based cleanerDon’t share towels and flannels
  • Wash contaminated clothes and bedding separately from other washing at the highest possible temperature
  • When visiting someone in hospital observe any visiting guidelines and wash your hands with liquid soap and water when entering and leaving ward areas
  • Avoid visiting hospital if you have had any symptoms of diarrhoea in the last 48 hours