C Diff Foundation Junior Infection Fighter Program was introduced to families and their children/teens in Chester County, Pennsylvania on October 12, 2019.
Dayle Skelly, Director of the Junior Infection Fighter Program and C. diff. A survivor said, “There shouldn’t be an age limit for raising awareness of infection prevention. Children are our future and take forth the torch of knowledge to be shared with everyone in each community.”
The volunteer program has been developed for children/teens, ages 7 to 14, with the participation and support of their parents/legal guardian and supervision of C Diff Foundation adult volunteers.
C Diff Foundation’s Junior Infection Fighters Program mission:
“To educate and advocate for infection prevention with the children and teens and to inspire their social, academic, personal, and health care knowledge. To partner with parents, sharing the same mission, to prepare the Junior Infection Fighter Volunteers to be members of ever-changing global health care in societies worldwide.”
C Diff Foundation’s Junior Infection Fighter guidelines have been brought to fruition, under the direction of a leading infection preventionist, Maureen Spencer, RN, M.Ed., CIC.
Ms. Spencer who has been an Infection Preventionist for over 30 years and board certified in infection control (CIC). As one of the early pioneers in infection control, she was awarded the APIC National Carole DeMille Award in 1990 and was selected as one of the APIC Heroes of Infection Prevention in 2007 for her work in establishing a MRSA and Staph aureus Elimination Program at New England Baptist Hospital, an Orthopedic Center of Excellence in Boston. The groundbreaking work was published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
All volunteer attendees enjoyed spending time learning more about practicing healthy habits combined with infection prevention information during the inaugural community event.
“We work together to carve new paths in the multi-faceted patient and family programs offered by C Diff Foundation. Together we build awareness and advocate for a leading healthcare-acquired infection; C. difficile. Globally educating and advocating for C. diff. infection prevention, treatments, clinical trials, antibiotic-resistance, and environmental safety. We are truly grateful to the dedicated members taking the C Diff Foundation’s mission to greater levels changing lives, and saving lives across the globe,” said Nancy C. Caralla, Founding President, C Diff Foundation.
Interested in joining the Junior Infection Fighters Program?
Contact the C Diff Foundation Main Office: (727) 205-3922 or email
In a study of more than 550,000 patient discharges from 327 California hospitals, researchers found that patients were most likely to contract Clostridium difficile (C.diff., CDI, C.difficile) —a stubborn and potentially deadly hospital-associated infection (HAI) —when inpatient wards were in the “middle range” of capacity, or between 25% and 75% full.
“Our hypothesis going in was essentially that when hospitals are busier, perhaps care quality is compromised,” Mahshid Abir, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine at UM Medical School and the study’s lead author, told FierceHealthcare. “Certainly when we saw these findings, we were surprised.”
Overall, more than 2,000 patients included in the study, which looked at discharges between 2008 and 2012, contracted C. diff during their hospital stay. Hospitals often struggle to control C. diff infections, and a significant number of readmissions can be linked to such infections.
By basing the study around a model that accounts for seasonal staffing changes or unit closure, for example, researchers were better able to filter out infections that a patient had before arriving at the hospital, she said. Calculating occupancy in this way could also help providers identify potential risk factor for infection, according to the study.
Patients admitted to a unit that was at between 25% and 75% capacity were three times more likely to contract C. diff compared to those in units at below 25% or above 75% capacity, according to the study.
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Let’s begin with promoting C. difficile prevention to share in witnessing a decrease in C. difficile infections worldwide.
Ways to PREVENT acquiring a C. diff. infection:
HAND-WASHINGremains the #1 course of action in infection prevention.
Knowing how and when to wash hands is also important.
Correct Hand-washing steps to follow:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well with water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel.
Turn off faucets with a clean dry towel, and wipe hands with a clean dry towel.
WHEN is it a good time to wash hands?
Before, during, and after handling and preparing food.
Upon Entering a Patient’s room and Before Existing a Patient’s room.
Before and after eating.
Before and after patient care.
Before and after treating a cut or wound.
Before exiting a restroom.
After changing diapers.
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
After petting a pet or any livestock animals.
After touching garbage.
Limit Antibiotic Use — Discuss Symptoms With Healthcare Providers.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommends infection control protocols be shared between healthcare professionals and long-term facility administrators for the safety of the patient, visitors, and other patient’s safety.
Question the necessity of antibiotics to treat symptoms. Unnecessary use of antibiotics raises the risk of acquiring a C. difficile infection. Remember antibiotics do not effect viruses. Healthcare professionals; confirming a bacterial infection before prescribing antibiotic course of treatment is advised.
Take the Antibiotic “Resistance Fighter” Pledge
How to be a resistance fighter: Limit the use of Antibiotics! Understand that antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and not viruses: colds, flu and most coughs are caused by viruses and will get better on their own. Treat your flu and cold symptoms and let your immune system fight the virus. Antibiotics will not help you get better quickly, and may give you side effects such as diarrhea and thrush. They can also lead to acquired C. diff. infections. They won’t stop your virus spreading to other people only YOU can do that with good hand hygiene. Don’t ask for antibiotics , instead ask your doctor about the best way to treat your symptoms. If you are prescribed antibiotics ask your doctor about the risks and benefits and always take them exactly as prescribed. Never take someone else’s antibiotics, always speak with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) or healthcare professional when symptoms linger or worsen.
Let us all take the “Resistance Fighter” Pledge and feel free to share the pledge with everyone you know
I will not expect antibiotics for colds and flu as they have no effect on viruses. I will take antibiotics as directed IF I am prescribed them, and not ask for them. I will practice good hygiene, making hand washing #1, and help stop giving germs a free ride.
Now we can ALL spread knowledge, not infections and encourage others to join the fight against antibiotic resistance.
“Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work” CDC Campaign :
Get Smart About Antibiotics Week has been an annual effort to coordinate the work of CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign, state-based appropriate antibiotic use campaigns, non-profit partners, and for-profit partners during a one week observance of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. The campaign organized its first annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week in 2008. CDC’s Get Smart campaign, housed in the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, collaborated with state-based appropriate antibiotic use campaigns and non-profit and for-profit partners. The success of the pilot year was measured by 1) dissemination of educational materials and messages, 2) partner satisfaction, and 3) media interest. A robust evaluation of the pilot week determined that each of these goals was met and exceeded. This was followed by other successful Get Smart About Antibiotics Week observances.
During November 14-20th, 2016 — the Annual Get Smart About Antibiotics Week will be observed. As in past years, the effort will coordinate work of CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign, state-based appropriate antibiotic use campaigns, non-profit partners, and for-profit partners during a one week observance of antibiotic resistance and the importance of appropriate antibiotic use. As with the past observances, messages and resources for improving antibiotic use in healthcare settings from CDC’s Get Smart for Healthcare campaign will be included. Get Smart for Healthcare is a program housed in CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases.
Ask your physician questions such as, “Do I really need an antibiotic?”
Bacteria only, not viruses (common cold, flu), can be killed by antibiotics.
Complete the entire course of prescribed antibiotics, even if you feel better midway through.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacterial changes reduce or eliminate an antibiotic’s ability to kill the bacteria.
The Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) recommends the following:
Take antibiotics only and exactly as instructed by your healthcare provider.
Only take antibiotics prescribed for you.
Do not save or share antibiotics prescribed to you.
Do not pressure your healthcare provider to prescribe you antibiotics.
C. diff. Testing: When a patient presents symptoms (diarrhea with abdominal cramping/pain, fatigue, fever) ordering a C. difficile stool test to rule out a C. diff. infection is beneficial, especially if the patient has been treated with antibiotics within ninety-days.
Environmental Safety: Disinfecting a patient’s room, treated for a positive C. difficileinfection, with a bleach or Federal EPA registered spore-killing product will help eliminate C. difficile spores from being spread to another patient’s room. Environmental safety is also an important matter in home-care. Cleaning all high-touch areas in both long-term and acute care facilities, and home environments will help decrease the spread of this infection. (High-touch surfaces: light switches, door knobs/handles, bed-side commodes, bathroom hand rails, commode, sink and sink handles, counter-tops, floors, bath-tubs, showers, canes, wheel-chairs, and all medical equipment in a patient’s room).
Personal Protection:ISOLATION: Visitors and Environmental professionals, wear proper personal protection equipment when treating and cleaning areas/rooms of a C. difficile patient. (gloves, gowns, shoe coverings, protective eye wear if using using spray solutions).
Patient Isolation: Contact Precautions: Protect the patient and others by keeping a C. difficile patient in isolation in long-term and acute care facilities. This will prevent the spread of infection to others and other areas within the facilities.
Communication: If a patient is being transferred from either a long-term or acute care facility, communicate to the facility intake personnel the patient’s C. diff. infection and necessary infection control protocols to be implemented for the patient and other patient’s safety.
The CDC has been sharing public announcements regarding the use of Antibiotics for both healthcare professionals and patients alike. Colds, Ear and Sinus symptoms may be caused by a virus, not bacteria. Taking antibiotics to treat a virus makes antibiotic medications less effective when they are needed while raising the risk of acquiring a C. difficile infection. Limit the use of Antibiotics to reduce the risk of acquiring a C. difficile infection (Bacterial infections and the treatment of symptoms will be determined and should be followed by the treating healthcare professionals). * November 17-23rd, 2014 join the CDC’s Get Smart: Know When Antibiotics Work campaign.
“None of us can do this alone…..all of us can do this together”
Infection Control Today (ICT) asked board members of the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council (HLAC) for their perspectives on key issues relating to infection prevention and healthcare textiles management.
Q: What are the gaps in research that are needed to advance healthcare textile science?
A: We view gaps as opportunities for advancements in healthcare textile science, and these opportunities are in large part being driven by infection prevention’s changing landscape. Growing drug resistance, the threat of pandemics and the cost of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) require that we gain a much better understanding of the morphology of organisms as it relates to their resistance and the chain of transmission. The list of infectious agents continues to grow and include prions, Clostridium difficile (C. diff.), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Ebola, etc. Each is unique and presents its own challenges for healthcare textiles, including the need to protect patient and staff from exposure situations (e.g., via personal protective equipment), assisting in patient-care activities (from exam gowns to incontinence products), and ultimately the need for them to be effectively cleaned/sanitized for reuse. The emergency guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for Ebola highlight the point: all items including textiles exposed to an Ebola patient must be incinerated. Though it is a very pragmatic and understandable decision, it is not an effective or sustainable one.
A better understanding of these infectious agents will allow for:
– The development of barrier fabrics that include chemical finishes that offer better and more specialized protection for the wearer
– Optimized cleaning and sanitizing conditions in the reprocessing of reusable products
– The use of scientifically based guidelines (not emotional ones) that effectively mitigate (not displace) infection risk in the handling contaminated textiles – (i.e., exposure of waste handlers vs. handling by trained reprocessing professionals). — Bradley J. Bushman, vice president of technical affairs, Standard Textile Co. Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio
Q: What are the imperatives about proper healthcare laundry processes that infection preventionists (IPs) must know?
A: IPs must be well-versed in the end-to-end healthcare laundry process, especially in the context of potential infection risks from contaminated healthcare textiles (HCTs). Contamination risks extend well beyond the actual wash process. While it is imperative to have a validated wash process that consistently produces hygienically safe and clean textiles, close attention must be paid to the many contamination risks after the wash process. HCT contamination after the wash process is just as dangerous as contamination from improperly washed HCTs.
Key areas to look for potential HCT contamination include:
– Dirty finish surfaces that may touch clean HCTs
– Carts, after being loaded, that are improperly stored outside on a loading dock
– HCT transfer carts that are not protected from the environment via fluid-proof covers or doors
– Dirty hands of laundry workers handling clean HCTs
– Dirty/linty equipment used to process HCTs
– The presence of dirty/soiled HCTs in an area with clean HCT
– Contaminated air flowing into a clean HCT area.
Also, it’s imperative to ensure that laundry workers are well-trained in hygiene concepts such as proper hand hygiene; proper environmental cleaning; the importance of functional separation of soiled and clean; and proper HCT sorting, washing, drying, and finishing. — Gregory Gicewicz, HLAC immediate past president; president, Sterile Surgical Systems, Tumwater, Wash.
Q: How important is it for healthcare laundry personnel to work with IPs and other stakeholders to achieve good outcomes?
A: It is very important. It’s essential to have open communication and collaboration between the healthcare IP and the laundry profession. There must be a sharing of knowledge and operational details, both the laundry operations and the healthcare facility operation, for each professional to be able to positively interact with each other.
The IP is involved in and responsible for observation, or surveillance, of aspects relating to both patient safety and infection prevention. This includes the collection and analysis of infection prevention and control data; review of products and procedures; follow-up on infection risk; prevention and control approaches; educational interventions to avoid or mitigate infection; and the application of changes mandated by regulatory and licensing agencies such as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The more knowledge the IP has concerning the operations of a laundry, the more epidemiological principles can be applied to improve patient care outcomes.
In welcoming the IP, a bond can be established that allows both entities to address ongoing issues with desired outcomes. Utilizing observation to follow the laundry progression of textiles in a step-by-step process will enable the IP to determine if there are perceived breaches in the process and can share these concerns with the laundry operator and personnel. In turn, the healthcare laundry operator may notify the healthcare facility administration and IP of concerns they may encounter in the healthcare laundry. — Joan Blanchard, RN, MSS, CNOR, CIC, infection prevention assistant, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Littleton, Colo.
Q: What are some ways that IPs can help facilitate dialogue and collaboration with healthcare laundry professionals?
A: We encourage IPs to have a strong, trusted partnership with their healthcare laundry vendor. A good practice is for the hospital IP team members to treat their healthcare laundry professionals as part of their extended team, where there’s an ongoing sharing of updates in infection control and prevention efforts and in the regulatory and licensing arenas. By establishing a working relationship with healthcare laundry personnel, problems that arise with the laundry process or the healthcare facility process can be more readily corrected and unresolved issues can be more directly addressed.
Important to this team-style relationship is for the IP to visit the healthcare laundry to become acquainted with the personnel responsible for administering the laundry. In fact, the laundry should be open to at least yearly visits from their IPs. These visits are more productive when they’re treated collaboratively. The purpose of visits is to ensure that the processes used by the healthcare laundry is safe and supported by research*. Utilizing HLAC’s Standards Checklist (available at www.hlacnet.org) as a guideline during these visits ensures that a thorough over-view of the laundry process is accomplished. — Gregory Gicewicz, HLAC immediate past president; president, Sterile Surgical Systems, Tumwater, Wash.; and Joan Blanchard, RN, MSS, CNOR, CIC, infection prevention assistant, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Littleton, Colo.
Q: What are the unresolved key issues related to infection prevention and healthcare textiles that remain for the future?
A: Without education and awareness, the same myths about healthcare laundry that have persisted for a long time will continue. For example:
– Myth: The laundry industry is regulated – by someone.
– Myth: The laundry industry is regulated by the government.
– Myth: If the hospital is accredited then so is the laundry.
– Myth: All textiles are washed the same.
– Myth: When it comes to knowing all about laundry matters, the hospital IP is on top of it.
– Myth: Every healthcare laundry is accredited.
Only the education of healthcare professionals, including IPs, can overcome these myths.
Furthermore, in the expanding world of pathogens, we will continue to see more bacteria and viruses developing more lethal strains and antibiotics becoming less and less effective. HLAC believes that going forward we should be striving for a more robust, collaborative effort among healthcare laundries, IPs, environmental services, laundry departments, quality management, and healthcare resource and materials management professionals.
Another point: It’s not unrealistic for hospitals to begin to look at healthcare textiles as an investment in quality patient outcomes and not just an expense. Bear in mind that the processing of healthcare textiles is a reimbursable expense by CMS because healthcare textiles have a direct impact on patient outcomes.
Because of these issues, we believe that every laundry that is providing healthcare textile processing services should be HLAC-accredited. Doing so would ensure that all patients receive textiles that are processed to the highest level, thus safeguarding that three of the four major principles of medical ethics are afforded of all patients: Justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence. We believe that there is a moral and ethical obligation to do the right thing for patients and processing healthcare textiles to the highest level possible helps to fulfill those obligations. We believe that working collaboratively, IPs and laundry operators will be key players in this process. — Joan Blanchard, RN, MSS, CNOR, CIC, infection prevention assistant, Littleton Adventist Hospital, Littleton, Colo.; and John Scherberger, HLAC board president; president, Healthcare Risk Mitigation, Spartanburg, S.C.
1. Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services. CMS Hospital Infection Control Worksheet. https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Provider-Enrollment-and-Certification/GenInfo/Downloads/Survey-and-Cert-Letter-15-12-Attachment-1.pdf Accessed July 14, 2016.
2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Toxic and Hazardous Substances: Bloodborne Pathogens, 29 CFR § 1030 (2012). Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
3. Siegel JD, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chierello L. the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Committee. 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings. 2007.
4. Accreditation Standards for Processing Reusable Textiles for use in Healthcare Facilities. 2016 ed Frankfort, IL. Health care Laundry Accreditation Council. 2016.
5. Protecting Workers Families—DHHS(NIOSH) Pub No. 1002-113. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
6. AINSI/AAMI ST65 2008/R 2013 Processing of Reusable Surgical Textiles for Use in Healthcare Facilities. 2013. Arlington, VA.: Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation: 2013.
7. Guideline for Surgical Attire. In: Guidelines for Perioperative. Denver, CO: AORN, Inc.: 2016.
Scientists reveal how to wash your hands: Research shows six step process is most efficient at killing bacteria., It turns out that just lathering your hands with soap, rubbing them vigorously for 20 seconds and rinsing is not the most effective way to clean them. Experts now say the six-step hand-hygiene technique recommended by the World Health Organization is far more superior than a rival three step process.
During the randomized controlled trial in an urban, acute-care teaching hospital, researchers observed 42 physicians and 78 nurses completing hand-washing using an alcohol-based hand rub after delivering patient care. The six-step technique was determined to be microbiologically more effective for reducing the median bacterial count (3.28 to 2.58) compared to the three-step method (3.08 to 2.88). However, using the six-step method required 25 percent more time to complete (42.50 seconds vs. 35 seconds).
HOW TO PROPERLY WASH YOUR HANDS WITH THE SIX-STEP TECHNIQUE
1. To properly wash your hands using the superior six-step method begin by wetting hands with water and grab either a dollop of soap or hand rub.
2. Begin rubbing your palms together with your fingers closed, then together with fingers interlaced.
3. Move your right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa – make sure to really rub in between your fingers.
4. Then interlock your fingers and rub the back of them by turning your wrist in a half circle motion.
5. Clasp your left thumb in your right palm and rub in in a rotational motion from the tip of your fingers to the end of the thumb, then switch hands.
6. And finally scrub the inside of your right hand with your left fingers closed and the other hand.
‘Only 65 percent of providers completed the entire hand hygiene process despite participants having instructions on the technique in front of them and having their technique observed.’