LANCASTER, Ohio, Oct. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Fairfield Medical Center, a not-for-profit community healthcare facility serving more than 250,000 residents in southeastern, Ohio, is celebrating a major patient safety milestone. Using an innovative, multi-prong infection prevention strategy, the hospital achieved a 90 percent reduction in its healthcare-associated Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) incident rate and maintained a zero-incident rate from January to July 2018.
C. difficile, an infectious and potentially life-threatening bacterium, is the leading cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) worldwide.1 In the United States, C. difficile causes nearly 500,000 infections and almost 30,000 deaths each year and is also increasingly recognized as a significant cause of infection in long-term care and community settings.2
To protect patients from this growing threat, Fairfield Medical Center launched a facility-wide infection prevention campaign, using a combination of innovative techniques, including daily hospital-wide cleaning with Clorox Healthcare® Fuzion™ Cleaner Disinfectant, to drive C. difficile infection rates to zero.
Beginning in December 2016, Infection Control Practitioners, Kristin Shuman, MSN, RN, CNL and Tina Cass, MSN, RN, CNL, worked in close collaboration with Fairfield Medical Center's senior leadership, clinical staff and Environmental Services teams to execute a multi-prong strategy to enhance environmental cleaning, optimize hand hygiene, and improve screening for C. difficile. Their initial goal was to reduce C. difficile infection rates by fifty percent, but the results, presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) far exceeded expectations. Between December 2016 and October 2017, these efforts led to an 88 percent reduction in C. difficile infection rates.3 Fairfield Medical Center realized further reductions from 2017-2018, and from January-July 2018, maintained a 0.68 percent incident rate.
Facility-Wide Strategy Raises the Bar for Infection Prevention
Preventing C. difficile infections presents a serious challenge, even for healthcare facilities with robust infection control protocols, in part because C. difficile spores are resilient to many disinfectants and can survive on surfaces for months at a time, contributing to an ongoing risk of transmission.
Daily cleaning and disinfecting with bleach is recognized as one of the most effective strategies for reducing C. difficile infection rates in hospitals.4,5 At Fairfield Medical Center, it has become a standard of care facility-wide.
As part of the intervention, Clorox Healthcare® Fuzion™ Cleaner Disinfectant, a next-generation bleach product that kills C. difficile spores in two minutes, was implemented facility-wide for daily and discharge cleaning. Fuzion, which has a very low odor profile, leaves little to no residue and is compatible with a wide range of surfaces, is specifically designed to enable expansive daily use. The novel formula was, and continues to be used daily throughout the hospital in all inpatient and outpatient areas, on all furniture and in all public spaces such as waiting rooms, public restrooms and common areas. According to Shuman and Cass, the facility-wide approach offers significant benefits compared to traditional models wherein regular bleach use is limited to patient isolation rooms and areas with historically high rates of infection.
"Patients with C. difficile and other infectious diseases don't always show symptoms and many visit Emergency Rooms, sit in waiting areas, walk hallways and go for additional tests or lab work before a diagnosis is reached," said Shuman. "If you're only using bleach in isolation rooms, you can't adequately address asymptomatic carriage and may be missing important exposure-related infection risks at other points in the patient journey."
"Using Fuzion hospital-wide, we are providing a better, safer environment for every one of our patients, staff and visitors, from the moment they walk through our doors," said Cass.
A true hospital-wide effort, each element of the enhanced infection prevention strategy was supported by a multidisciplinary leadership team including clinical experts as well as Fairfield Medical Center's CEO and Chief Nursing Officer, and a range of innovative tactics designed to promote compliance, accountability and a strong culture of safety.
Together, these efforts have resulted in seven months with a zero healthcare-associated C. difficile incident rate, an achievement that CEO Jack Janoso, Jr., attributes to the team's deep commitment to patient safety, quality care and the community that Fairfield Medical Center serves.
"Fairfield Medical Center recognized the need to take a different, collaborative and unified approach to tackle hospital-associated infections," said John R. "Jack" Janoso, Jr., President and CEO of Fairfield Medical Center. "From a blame-free evaluation of common sense practice of effective hand hygiene, to a true Fairfield Medical Center team effort of infection prevention through improved cleaning and sanitation methods, the entire organization rallied to prevent our patients from inadvertent harm. The results have been rewarding and astounding."
About Fairfield Medical Center
Serving more than 250,000 residents in Fairfield, Perry, Hocking and Athens counties and employing more than 2,000 individuals, Fairfield Medical Center is proud of its role in the community. Our 222-bed, nonprofit, 501(C)3 hospital located in Lancaster, Ohio, provides full-service, general acute health services. As a not-for-profit healthcare facility, Fairfield Medical Center is committed to providing medically necessary treatment to persons in need, regardless of their ability to pay. Our mission is to deliver outstanding healthcare for our patients, their families and our communities.
1 Balsells, E, et al. "Infection prevention and control of Clostridium difficile: a global review of guidelines, strategies, and recommendations." J Glob Health (2016)6.2: 020410.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 25th 2015 Press Release: "Nearly half a million Americans suffered from Clostridium difficile infections in a single year." Accessed Aug. 9, 2018.
3 Schuman, K, Cass, T. "Battling hospital acquired Clostridium difficile with innovative infection prevention tools." American Journal of Infection Control (2018)46.6, S87.
4 Ting, HH, et al. "Clostridium Difficile Infection in Acute Care Hospitals: Systematic Review and Best Practices for Prevention." Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol (2017)38: 476-482.
5 Safdar, N, et al. "Interventions to Reduce the Incidence of Hospital-Onset Clostridium difficile Infection: An Agent-Based Modeling Approach to Evaluate Clinical Effectiveness in Adult Acute Care Hospitals." Clin Infect Dis (2018)66.8: 1192-1203.
SOURCE Fairfield Medical Center