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Lower C. difficile Rate Spells Success for TOH SWAT Teams

June 21, 2013 – The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) was recognized by Public Health Ontario this month for the work we have done to combat the C. difficile infection. Our efforts to improve hand hygiene, infection-control practices, and environmental-cleaning practices are working.

Over the past few months, TOH has worked closely with the provincial public-health agency to reduce our C. difficile rates. Our SWAT team’s efforts to improve disinfection, eliminate clutter and repair areas within units remain critical strategies for keeping C. difficile rates down.

Some patients acquire C. difficile in the community and become symptomatic only after antibiotics are started in the hospital. This underscores the importance of TOH’s focus on the optimal and responsible use of antibiotics. TOH continues to address antimicrobial stewardship by providing physicians with adequate feedback and training on the appropriate use of antibiotics.

The most recent data for May show that the Civic Campus had 10 cases of C. difficile, or a rate of 0.78 per 1,000 patient days; the General Campus also had 10 cases, or 0.63; the University of Ottawa Heart Institute had two cases, or 0.51. TOH’s corporate goal is to drive down C. difficile rates to 0.45.

Background: Last September, Public Health Ontario conducted a review of TOH’s infection prevention and control practices at our request. The review was in response to high rates of C. difficile at the hospital.

Public Health Ontario’s Infection Control Resource Team Report,

What’s Next: TOH will continue to focus on infection control, environmental-cleaning practices, and antimicrobial stewardship as we work to reduce our C. difficile rates even further.