It could be Spring, it could be Summer the seasons really don’t matter anymore.
A loss is a loss in life. We loose more than we anticipate with any long-term illness and wellness draining diagnosis. We loose even more deeply and permanently when our loved ones pass away from a multi-diagnosis treated either long-term or short- term ~ it really doesn’t matter because bottom line — it’s a loss.
Clostridium difficile (C. diff.) is gram-positive, anaerobic, and a spore, rod/spindle-shape, a common bacterium of the human intestine in 2 – 5%. C diff. becomes a serious gastrointestinal infection when individuals have been exposed to antibiotic therapy, and/or have experienced a long-term hospitalization, and/or have had an extended stay in a long-term care facility. However; the risk of acquiring a C diff. infection (CDI) has increased as it is in the community (community acquired) and can be found in outpatient settings. There are significant higher risk factors in patients who are immunosuppressant, ones who have been on antibiotic therapy, and the elderly population.
We know and understand “what” a C. difficile infection is, what we can not understand is what this, and many other healthcare-associated infections, can do to our lives.
The acute onset of a C. difficile diagnosis is received, treated, resolved only to have a re-occurrence of the same illness from which one has previously recovered, moving into a the long-term (chronic) debilitating illness. It’s not the same for everyone as C. diff. is a very individualized diagnosis, as many other infections.
The landscape of Clostridium difficile has changed over the decades; there are new strains, there are a lot more questions, and increased research is actively taking place worldwide.
The geriatric population used to carry the higher risk of acquiring this infection, however; that has also changed. It is being diagnosed across the life-span.
“C. diff. knows no boundaries, this infection can be acquired by anyone, at any location, at any age.”
A loss is a loss in life. We loose more than we anticipate with any long-term illness and wellness draining diagnosis — one like C. difficile.
Life is not the same after experiencing a loss; The loss of a loved one, the loss of employment, the loss of how the body used to just function without a care in the world. The Gastrointestinal system endures more than it should especially after encountering three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten recurrences.
C. diff. claims lives, rips away dreams and the families are changed forever.
The seasons and the holidays come and go, the healing takes time both emotionally and physically. The losses are many from an infection — one that we can all try to prevent.
Hand washing is so important, before and after meals, after using the restrooms, before cooking and touching food, after handling pets, and often. It is the first defense of stopping the spread of germs and increasing personal safety.
Special contact precautions for prevention of the spread of infection can vary from strict isolation of the patient and such measures as wearing gloves, and a gown and healthcare professionals must use care when handling infectious material and soiled linens.
No matter what the diagnosis or status of the patient, hand washing for everyone – before and after each contact is imperative.
In the care of patients for whom special precautions have not been assigned, gloves are indicated whenever there is direct contact with body fluids. Gowns are worn over the clothing whenever there is a positive stool test for C. diff. infection, and the possibility that one’s clothing/uniform could become soiled with infectious material.
When a definitive diagnosis of an infectious disease has been made and special precautions are ordered, it is imperative that everyone having contact with the patient adhere to the rules. Family members and visitors will need instruction in the proper techniques and the reason they are necessary.
Offering the patient a basin of water with soap, and a dry towel, to wash their hands will also help. The patient is not exempt and this important infection prevention method will reduce the spread of germs and also reduce the reintroduction of the germs to your loved one — the patient.
And limiting the use of Antibiotics — discussing the diagnosis with the healthcare provider and knowing when they will be helpful treating symptoms will also curb antibiotic resistance and prevent acquiring C. difficile.
To listen to a live broadcast with Dr. Hicks and Dr. Srinivasan from the CDC and their discussion on “How to use antibiotics wisely and how everyone can help in the fight against antibiotic-resistance,” on “C. diff. Spores and More” Cdiff Radio click on the following link
For more information on Infection Prevention, Antibiotic Resistance, Advocating for a loved one, C. difficile information on “home care” and more ~ please visit the C Diff Foundation website www.cdifffoundation.org
Life will not be the same for us and we can all make a difference from today forward in helping others save lives and prevent C. difficile infections worldwide.