Tag Archives: Clostridium Difficile

How to Deal With Pathogenic Microorganisms on Stethoscopes?

“Stethoscopes can take part in the transmission of health care-associated infections. We cultured 112 stethoscopes by direct imprint on blood agar to estimate the prevalence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. Forty-eight (47%) produced 50 potentially pathogenic microorganisms; from these, 43 (86%) were Staphylococcus aureus, of which 18 (42%) were methicillin-resistant S. aureus. We concluded that stethoscopes should be considered as potential fomites and must be disinfected routinely before and after each patient contact.”

The above quote was taken from a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control on October 31, 2013, reminding us of all of the ways germs can be transmitted within the hospital. Just like a physician’s neck tie, lab coat, and blood pressure cuff, we know there are many common items in healthcare facilities that are capable of easily transmitting harmful bacteria. Instead of trying to wipe each item down with a disinfectant cloth, we have a better recommendation. By placing your stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, cell phone, keys, thermometer, pens, etc., into this mobile uv light station for 60 seconds, you can protect yourself and those around you from over 300 dangerous germs. UV Flash disinfecting system has shown a 100% kill rate on C. difficile, staphylococcus aureus, and acinetobacter baumanni in just 60 seconds.

This simple and effective disinfection solution saves healthcare workers from dealing with messy chemicals or spending too much time on disinfection. Just place the items inside, shut the door, and press start. The UV Flash is recommended for waiting rooms, clinics, lobbies, medical offices, nursing stations, ICU’s and more. See the proof.

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Filed under Healthcare Acquired Infections, Ultraviolet light to fight bacteria, Uncategorized

The Next Time A Friend Is Sick, Don’t Send Flowers. Send Yogurt.

ImageIn Meadowbrook, PA., at Holy Redeemer Hospital, they are trying something new. An innovative idea aimed to cut down on infection rates that also fits beautifuly into their budget. It all came about when they started to see a spike in hospital infection rates. They attempted to battle the bug with the usual approaches like patient isolation and increasing their use of bleach, but to no avail. That’s when they started taking a few  notes from Jamie Lee Curtis. Remember those Activia commercials promoting the benefits of probiotics?  Holy Redeemer must have, because they decided to make use of the small organisms that help maintain the natural balance of bacteria in the intestines.

Probiotics are said to help treat a number of conditions, including irritable bowel sydrome, tooth decay and chronic fatigue syndrome. Now, Holy Redeemer and other hospitals are using probiotics as a preventive measure for patients on antibiotics. While antibiotics are good at fighting the bad bugs, they also kill the good ones and that can lead to C. diff infections. Patients with orders for antibiotics were recommended to take two six-ounce portions of yogurt daily. The number of C. diff cases fell from 75 infections in 2011 to 23 infections in 2012.

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Filed under Healthcare Acquired Infections, Uncategorized

August 12, 2013

Monday Mash-up

Monday Mash Up

Nothing like a Monday morning pop quiz to wake up those brain cells! Remember last Friday’s post, way back before your fun and relaxing weekend? Remember when I told you to study up because I was going to test you on your HAI knowledge? Well, I wasn’t joking. Test your memory to see how much you can remember. And if you can’t, I suppose I’ll make this an open notes quiz and let you look at Friday’s post to find the answers.  Good luck, and check back tomorrow to see the answers!

And remember…

CLABSI= Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection

CAUTI= Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection

SSI= Surgical Site Infection

VAP= Ventilator-Associated Infection

C. diff.= Clostridium Difficile

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Filed under Daily Blog Posts, Healthcare Acquired Infections, Monday Mash Up

August 9, 2013


5 Common Types of Healthcare-Acquired Infections

HAIs. Healthcare-Acquired Infections. HCAIS. Healthcare-Associated Infections. Hospital-Associated Infections.

No matter which specific terminology you use, it sounds ominous right? “HAI” (I like this way best, I hope you don’t mind) is kind of a blanket term, encompassing any infection you get in a healthcare facility while being treated for something else.

But HAIs come in many shapes and forms. Some have symptoms you can see, some have symptoms you can feel, some are in your blood, some are in your lungs, some are easy to treat, some are more difficult…

Confused yet? I know I am. I can barely keep my coworkers’ names straight, much less differentiate between specific infections.

So to help us all out, I did a little research on the CDC website and found these 5 Common Types of HAIs. There are quite a few more variations and details, but this gives us someplace to start. So study up, you might be tested on these later 🙂

  1. Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection (aka Catheter-Associated Bloodstream Infection or CLABSI)


  • Central line/central venous catheter= a tube placed in a patient’s vein to draw blood or administer fluids and medication; empties out near the heart

Contracting CLABSI: Bacteria travels down the tube into blood

Symptoms: fever, chills, soreness or redness around the catheter

Treatment: antibiotics, removal of catheter


  • Don’t use catheter any longer than necessary
  • Make sure your healthcare providers and visitors are following correct hand hygiene rules
  • Don’t let visitors touch catheter
  • Tell your doctor or nurse if the bandage comes off or becomes dirty or wet

 2. Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infection (aka CAUTI)


  • Urinary catheter= tube used to drain the bladder

Contracting CAUTI: Germs travel through catheter into urinary tract

Symptoms: burning/pain in lower abdomen, fever, burning during urination, more frequent urination, bloody urination

Treatment: antibiotics, removal/change of catheter


  • Don’t use catheter longer than necessary
  • Clean hands before and after touching catheter
  • Make sure urine bag is below level of bladder
  • Don’t tug, pull, or twist catheter tubing

3. Surgical Site Infection (aka SSI)


  • Surgical site= part of body where surgery took place; where incision was made

Contracting SSI: germs enter body through surgical site

Symptoms: redness/pain around surgical site, drainage/cloudy fluid around surgical wound, fever

Treatment: antibiotics, possibly more surgery


  • Make sure doctor is aware of your medical background
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t shave before surgery
  • Don’t allow visitors to touch wound or bandages
  • Make sure healthcare providers and visitors are following proper hand hygiene rules

4. Ventilator-Assoicated Pneumonia (aka VAP)


  • Ventilator= used to help patient breathe; tube is placed in mouth, nose, or a hole in the neck and connected to ventilator machine

Contracting VAP: germs travel through tube into lungs

Symptoms: coughing, fever, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, shortness of breath, chills, chest pain

Treatment: Antibiotics


  • Don’t smoke
  • Ask for hospital bed to be raised to 30-45°
  • Make sure healthcare providers and visitors are following proper hand hygiene rules
  • Clean the inside of your mouth regularly

 5. Clostridium Difficile (aka C. diff.)


  • C. diff= type of germ

Contracting C. diff:

  • Found in feces
  • Can be transmitted person-to-person or through contaminated surfaces (spores can survive outside the body for long periods of time)
  • Usually affects people on antibiotics

Symptoms: watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, stomach pain


  • Take only antibiotics prescribed to you
  • Make sure you, your healthcare providers, and any visitors are following proper hand hygiene rules

Getting into the nitty gritty details of infections isn’t exactly a feel-good Friday activity. But I think, and I’m sure you feel the same way, it’s much better to read about something like Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia and learn the facts that way than to get it in real life and learn the hard way.

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Filed under Daily Blog Posts, Gimme Five Friday, Healthcare Acquired Infections

National Patient Safety Week-Recap

This week has been designated “National Patient Safety Week”.  It is near and dear to my heart.  All week long there have been reports and posts from many organizations.  Some of my favorite advocates have written moving and mindful articles about this most important subject.   That being said, where exactly are we in the ‘State of Healthcare’ as it relates to patient safety?

To sum up my thoughts from this week I am posting a few links:

“Posts from Pronovost” drove the point home when he discussed courage.  He described the first time a famous singer, Susan Boyle, walked onto a stage in the UK.  He states that she was “wearing a frumpy dress, over weight and awkward”.  I had never seen the performance of this amazing woman.    I admittedly felt uncomfortable watching the video clip, especially as the people in the audience mocked her.  Finally she did what she knew she could do, she used her voice and Everything changed in a few seconds.  I found myself sitting in front of my computer with tears rolling down my face.  Her courage was remarkable and as many of you know she went on to become famous in her own right.


We all have a voice.  Sometimes we are afraid to use it until something or someone inspires us to do so.

Ten years ago The Joint Commission began a campaign called, “Speak Up!”


It has grown and become familiar in the hospital setting.  What amazed me then and now is that so many patients and families do not realize or understand it IS OK to ask questions.  Everyone benefits and outcomes can be improved with patients and families being part of the healthcare team.

It is OK to be a partner in your own healthcare and OK to ask hospital staff to wash their hands. It is also OK to ask a doctor what medicine is being prescribed for you, what side effects to watch for, and when to call for help.  The Joint Commission has a poster for children in their campaign (see link above) encouraging children to ASK questions.

Even as this information on advocacy and making hospitals safer has been in the forefront of the healthcare media, the CDC posted its ‘Vital Signs’ Report on the ever growing threat of Clostridium Difficile.



For those of you who do not know what Clostridium Difficile is – it will be well worth your time to check out the link and educate yourself about the threat of this little infectious monster.  The report indicates the pathogen is not just in Acute Care Hospitals, but in Physician Offices, Long Term Care Facilities i.e. Nursing Homes and Out Patient Surgery Centers.  These are places we all visit at one time or another.  It puts us all at risk.

So what do we say?

WE continue to use our voices to gain traction, start the snowball and get the word out. We have products at Midbrook Medical that can save lives.  Explore the website; watch the video clip of the Tempest in action.  Be the Voice in your facility to ask for help… “Speak Up” because it is OK to Ask the hard questions!

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