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C. difficile Reporting

C. difficile rates for Regional Programs

2021 / 2022 2022 / 2023 2023 / 2024 
Q1 0 0 0
Q2 0 0 0
Q3   0     0     0
Q4   0     0    


C. difficile rates for Provincial Forensic Programs

  2021 / 2022 2022 / 2023 2023 / 2024
Q1 0 0 0
Q2 0 0 0
Q3 0 0 0
Q4 0 0


What are healthcare associated infections?

Sometimes when patients are admitted to the hospital, they can get infections. These are called healthcare associated infections. In the case of C. difficile, this may mean that symptoms began 72 hours after admission to the hospital, or that the infection was present at the time of admission but was related to a previous admission to that hospital within the last four weeks.

What is C. difficile?

C. difficile (Clostridium difficile) is a bacteria. It can be part of the normal bacteria in the large intestine and is one of the many bacteria that can be found in stool (a bowel movement).

A C. difficile infection occurs when other good bacteria in the bowel are eliminated or decreased allowing the C. difficile bacteria to grow and produce toxins. The toxins produced can damage the bowel and cause diarrhea. C. difficile is one of the most common infections found in hospitals and long-term care facilities and has been a known cause of healthcare associated diarrhea for about 30 years.

Who is at risk for C. difficile?

Healthy people are not usually susceptible to C. difficile. Seniors, and people who have other illnesses or conditions being treated with antibiotics and certain other stomach medications, are at greater risk of an infection from C. difficile.

What are the symptoms of C. difficile?

The usual symptoms are mild but can be severe. 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 stools.

How do you get C. difficile?

C. difficile is the most common cause of healthcare associated infectious diarrhea. Since it can be part of the normal bacteria in your large intestine, taking antibiotics can change the normal balance of bacteria in your large intestine making it easier for C. difficile to grow and cause an infection. Old age and the presence of other serious illnesses may increase the risk of C. difficile disease.

How does C. difficile spread?

When 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.

The spread of C. difficile occurs due to inadequate hand hygiene and environmental cleaning; therefore, proper control is achieved through consistent hand hygiene and thorough cleaning of the patient environment. Frequent practice of good hand hygiene (i.e. washing hands and use of hand sanitizers) is the single-most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like C. difficile.

Waypoint has hand sanitizer dispensers with signage throughout the facility which are mounted in key locations, such as building entrances, canteens, cafeterias and café. Signage promoting good hand washing techniques is located in every washroom throughout the facility. Hand hygiene practices are introduced to new staff during orientation and reinforced with staff on an ongoing basis. Instruction on hand hygiene and proper use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) can be accessed by staff the hospital's Intranet website or copies can be reserved through Infection Control.

How is C. difficile diagnosed?

Stool samples are sent out to the Public health lab and tested for C. difficile toxins on patients with symptoms of the illness. The lab will notify us by phone of a positive result. Both the program/unit and Waypoint's Infection Control Practitioners receive printed copies of all results.

How is C. difficile treated?

Treatment depends on how sick you are. People with mild symptoms may not need treatment. For more severe disease, antibiotics are required.

What precautions are used to prevent the spread of C. difficile in the hospital?

Waypoint has policies and guidelines in place for reporting and managing infections. Outbreak Management Guidelines for Enteric (diarrheal) and Respiratory Outbreaks are posted on all units/programs throughout the facility. These guidelines and policies are also posted the hospital’s Intranet site for easy access by all staff. Infection control measures, such as increased hand hygiene, increased environmental cleaning are implemented when an infectious illness is identified.

If you are in hospital and have C. difficile diarrhea, you will be put on precautions until you are free from diarrhea for at least 48 to 72 hours. Your activities outside the room may be restricted. All health care staff who enter your room will wear a gown and gloves and/or any other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that may be appropriate depending on the perceived need. Everyone MUST clean their hands when leaving your room.

Does Waypoint track C. difficile cases?

Yes. Our Infection Prevention and Control team monitors and works with units/programs with positive/suspect cases of C. difficile. Infection Control Practitioners will follow up with all patients tested for C. difficile. This information, including the rates is tracked in a database.