A significant decrease in rates of clinically confirmed long-term care facility onset Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) at 132 Veteran’s Affairs facilities coincided with implementation of a nationwide prevention initiative, researchers report in a new study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
The initiative for prevention of CDI in VA long-term care facilities (LTCFs) was implemented in February 2014 following implementation in VA acute care facilities in July 2012. The initiative, which emphasizes environmental management, hand hygiene, contact precautions, and institutional culture change, was extended and tailored to VA LTCFs because they are often linked to VA acute care facilities, where CDI has become the most common healthcare-associated infection. To evaluate the impact of the initiative, the researchers analyzed quarterly CDI trends from the first 33 months of the program and compared them with the 2 years prior to implementation.
The analysis found that there were 137,289 admissions, 9,288,098 resident days, and 1,373 clinically confirmed LTCF-onset CDI cases from April 2014 through December 2016.
The nationwide number of clinically confirmed LTCF-onset CDI cases did not change in the 2 years prior to implementation of the prevention initiative but decreased by 36.1% over the 33-month analysis period.
The results mirror the experience in VA acute care facilities, which saw a 15% drop in hospital-acquired CDI cases over the first 33 months of the prevention initiative, and the authors note that this may have had an impact on their findings, along with strong leadership from the VA Central Office and individual facility accountability.
“The exact reason for the decrease in cases within the VA LTCFs is not known,” they write. “Given the large number of facilities involved and the long observation period, we were not able to collect data on individual facility activities or sustainability of activities; hence, we cannot report a ‘magic bullet’ responsible for the declining trend.”
Study shows substantial burden of primary, recurrent C diff
In another study on CDI, researchers with Merck’s Center for Observational and Real World Evidence estimated the healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) and costs attributable to primary CDI and recurrent CDI (rCDI).
In the retrospective observational study, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, the researchers analyzed administrative claims data from two commercial databases representing nearly 50 million individuals with private health insurance.
To obtain hospitalized days and costs attributable to primary CDI, patients without CDI were matched 1:1 by propensity score to those with primary CDI but no recurrences. To obtain hospitalized days and costs associated with rCDI, patients with primary CDI but no recurrences were matched 1:1 to those with primary CDI plus one recurrence.
A total of 55,504 CDI patients were identified from July 2010 through June 2014, and among those patients 24.8% had a recurrence. Compared to those patients without CDI, the cumulative hospitalized days and healthcare costs attributable to primary CDI were 5.20 days and $24,205. Compared to those patients with primary CDI only, the cumulative hospitalized days and healthcare costs attributable to rCDI were 1.95 days and $10,580.
“In conclusion, the HCRU and economic burden associated with primary and rCDI are quite substantial,” the authors write. “Better prevention and treatment of CDI, especially rCDI, are needed.”
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