When Collaborating to Control Sources of C. Difficile and Other GI Pathogens in Your Facility, Don’t Overlook Endoscopy

Where are you more likely to encounter GI secretions and bacteria than in GI endoscopy?

The CDC reports that costs and mortality risks related to the GI borne bacteria C. difficile remain at historically high levels, with a vast majority related to exposure in health care settings. In a recent report, CDC researchers attribute environmental exposure to infectious C. difficile spores, antibiotic -use, and misconceptions of the adequacy current infection prevention strategies to the difficulty in controlling these potentially life-threatening, and preventable infections

  • Hospital Stays due to C. difficile have tripled in the last decade
  • C. diff germs move with patients and can readily spread within a facility
  • 94% of C. difficile infections are related to receiving hospital care
  • C. diff infections result in more than 14,000 preventable deaths and $1 Bil in excess costs annually

As commonly infectious bacteria like C. difficile ultimately originate in the GI tract, efforts should be made to contain GI contamination in areas of a facility where encountered. CDC recommendations for controlling C. difficile infections include reducing contamination of health-care environmental surfaces and integrating the risk factors of C. difficile infection (including advanced age, GI manipulations and surgery, and antibiotic exposure) into Infection Prevention processes and protocols.

It is well established that GI bacteria and pathogens, like C. difficile and E. coli, are among the most commonly implicated in HAIs. For example, C. difficile is known to be environmentally mediated and easily spread from contaminated surfaces to other areas of a hospital or health-care facility. It should not be surprising that within the past decade, we have seen a significant increase in infections caused by GI bacteria, like C. difficile, coinciding with the significant increase in the volume and availability of GI endoscopy procedures. Just so there is no misunderstanding, procedures like Colonoscopy Screenings are a safe and incredibly valuable early detection tool and should be performed on the timeframe and intervals recommended.

Due to the increased focus on endoscope reprocessing and safe injection practices, a patient undergoing an endoscopy procedure is the least likely to become infected, as any secretions and bacteria encountered is already comprised of their own flora. However, infection control processes in endoscopy have not adequately kept pace to Contain and Confine bacteria within the procedure room on the exposed surfaces of gurneys, linens and patients that are then moved to recovery and throughout the facility and community, relying only on terminal cleaning of the gurneys and patient carts as a means for reducing cross transmission. By the time this process would occur in the continuum of an endoscopy procedure, most of the cross transmission would have already taken place, resulting in a false or inadequate sense of security.

Since endoscopy suites or GI Labs are one area of a hospital or ambulatory facility where GI bacteria is predictable encountered on virtually every procedure performed, adequate processes should be implemented to isolate and contain this bacteria within the procedure room, preventing its spread into the recovery room or other patient care areas. Effective containment along with the use of procedure gowns, gloves, and appropriate hand washing are critical components of a comprehensive infection control strategy.

The ENDODRAPE Endoscopy Containment Systems provide a simple to use, cost effective solution to these infection control challenges. The ENDODRAPE establishes the barrier protection for high-touch surfaces during the procedure, as recommended by CDC and Joint Commission guidelines. By effectively containing bacteria and secretions generated during these procedures, you are protecting your patients, staff, and facility from exposure and environmental contamination as patients and gurneys are moved into the recovery area and used to transport patients to other areas of your facility following an endoscopy procedure. The ENDODRAPE reduces infection risks, promotes procedural flow, and substantially reduces procedure room turn-times caused the interim cleaning processes that would be required to achieve a comparable process for Containing and Confining potentially infectious pathogens.

For more information on this Best Practice in Infection Prevention and Control, please take just a few minutes to view our brief educational video at www.endodrape.com/video, or contact us at (317) 348-3555 or by email at sales@vorteksurgical.com.

 Updated 12/6/2012

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