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Clostridium Difficile (C. difficile)

How is the C. difficile rate calculated?

The infection rate is calculated as a rate per 1,000 patient days. “Total number of patient days” represents the sum of the number of days during which services were provided to all inpatients during the given time period.

The rate is calculated as follows:

Number of new hospital acquired cases of C. difficile in our facility  x 1000
            Total number of patient days (for one month)

Chart 1: Hospital Acquired Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI) Rates at Markham Stouffville April 2015- March 2017

The chart above shows the rate of Hospital Acquired Clostridium difficile Infections in blue line. The red line shows Markham Stouffville Reporting Threshold, and green identifies Ontario average.

Table 1: Chart 1: Number of Hospital Acquired CDI at Markham Stouffville April 2015- March 2017

The table above shows the numbers of Hospital Acquired Clostridium difficile Infections in period between April 2015 - September 2016. 

Frequently Asked Questions

 What is C. difficileC. difficile is one of many germs (bacteria) that can be found in a bowel movement (stool). C. difficile disease occurs when antibiotics kill your good bowel bacteria and allow the C. difficile to grow. When C. difficile grows, it creates toxins that can damage your bowel and cause diarrhea. C. difficile is one example of a healthcare-associated infection and is one of the most common infections found in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
 Who is at risk for C. difficileHealthy people are not usually susceptible to C. difficile. Seniors and people who have illnesses or conditions being treated with antibiotics and other stomach medications are at greater risk of an infection from C. difficile.
 What are the symptoms of C. difficileThe usual symptoms are mild but can be severe. The main symptoms are: watery diarrhea fever abdominal pain /tenderness In some cases there may not be diarrhea. Blood may or may not be present in the stool.
 How is C. difficile spreadWhen a person has C. difficile, the germs in the stool can soil surfaces such as toilets, handles, bedpans, or commode chairs. When touching these items, your hands can become soiled. If you then touch your mouth, you can swallow the germ. Your soiled hands can spread germs that can survive for a long time on other surfaces if not properly cleaned.
 How is C. difficile diagnosedIf you have symptoms of C. difficile, your doctor will ask for a sample of your stool to test.
 How is C. difficile treatedTreatment depends on how sick you are. People with mild symptoms may not need treatment. For more severe cases, antibiotics are required.
 How is the spread of C. difficile prevented in the hospitalProper control is achieved through consistent hand hygiene and thorough cleaning of the patient environment. Good hand hygiene (i.e. washing hands thoroughly and often) is the single-most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like C. difficile.

If you have C. difficile diarrhea it is preferred that you be moved to a private room until you are free from diarrhea for at least two days. Your activities outside the room will be restricted.  All healthcare providers who enter your room will wear gowns and gloves. Your visitors may also be asked to wear gowns and gloves. Everyone must clean their hands when leaving your room. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom.

Markham Stouffville Hospital has also implemented the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Just Clean Your Hands and Clean Hands Protect Lives hand hygiene initiatives and has taken many measures to improve our hand hygiene compliance including:

  • conducting internal reviews
  • holding staff education sessions
  • installing additional hand hygiene product throughout the hospital
  • participating in a poster campaign

If you have any questions about the quality indicators please call 905-472-7373 extension 6199