excerpt: by Bob Kehoe, senior editor of Health Facilities Management

South Seminole Hospital in Orlando, Florida  reduced their hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infection [CDI] rate by 47 percent even though community-acquired C. difficile rose by 7 percent during a time that the hospital began practicing a multi-level approach toward fighting antibiotic resistant bacteria.”The facility also reduced hospital-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by 30 percent and hospital-acquired vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) by 50 percent, according to Tom Kelley, M.D., chief of quality and clinical transformation.

An evolving bundle of interventions implemented by the clinical and quality staff, environmental services (ES) personnel, infection preventionists and others led to the safety improvements. The measures included stepped-up efforts to monitor hand-hygiene compliance, including reporting and auditing findings by department, which led to greater peer accountability. Antibiotic stewardship became a deeper systemwide focus. Pulsed xenon ultraviolet light (UV) disinfection was added as a supplemental step to terminal cleaning in the intensive care unit, operating rooms and all contact isolation precaution rooms.

Other infection prevention organizations and patient safety groups also support a bundling approach to fighting aggressive pathogens. In June, leaders from these areas gathered at the White House to discuss implementing the National Strategy for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and to address recommendations from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The group covered such issues as:

• Misuse and overuse of antibiotics in health care and food production.

• Implementation of evidence-based infection control practices to prevent the spread of resistant pathogens.

• New technologies like whole genome sequencing to develop next-generation tools to strengthen human and animal health.

Together, the national plan’s five goals could cut by 50 percent the incidence of C. difficile compared with estimates from 2011 and carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections acquired during hospitalization by 60 percent.