You are caring for a patient with c-diff as part of your workload assignment. Discuss what c-diff is and how it is transmitted (how you can get it)?
What actons will you take as a nurse to protect yourself and other patients on the unit when taking care of your patient?
C-diff is a bacteria that is in the same family as other more well-known strains like E. coli and Salmonella, but it’s not nearly as well known about. One of the reasons for this lack of knowledge is because C-diff can be transmitted through contact with infected surfaces and from person to person or from one animal to another (think pets). C-disease is often fatal to the humans who contract it and can even be fatal to the animals that get infected via contact with infected animals or surfaces (Lei et al., 2020).
The most common way that C-diff is transmitted is through contact with the feces of infected animals. But it can also be transmitted through contaminated utensils, tools or equipment, with various other methods being possible as well. It can also be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with someone who has been in close contact with an infected animal or surface. People like vets, pet sitters and groomers are more at risk because of the amount of contact they have with animals (Lei et al., 2020). Children and the elderly are also more susceptible to contracting it because their immune systems aren’t as strong as a healthy adult’s. The biggest problem is that it can live for a long time outside the body (up to 17 days), so surfaces like door knobs, chairs and even carpets can be a source of infection.
Taking care of a patient with diarrhea can be challenging and put you at risk for contracting a number of illnesses, including one that may not be listed on the patient’s chart: c-diff. When caring for this type of person, it is important to take precautions to protect your immune system and the other patients in your unit. If you are the nurse caring for an infected patient, you must be aware of your own susceptibility to the illness. You are at risk of contracting c-diff if several factors apply to you (Mirazimova, 2020). To avoid contracting c-diff, keep your hands clean. Wash your hands with soap and hot water upon arriving at work and after leaving the unit. Each time you touch a contaminated area or surface, including door handles and carts, wash your hands again. Keep your toiletries in a designated location and do not share with other staff members.
Do not touch your face or mouth without washing your hands first. You will also take steps to protect other patients on the unit by not coming into contact with them, for example, by not sharing razors. When you share something in common with a patient, always use a sterile technique. Wash your hands before and after sharing with a patient. Also wash your hands after using the restroom. Wash your hands and put on clean gloves before coming into contact with a patient (Mirazimova, 2020). Wear clean disposable gloves while caring for the patient. Use your gloved hands to touch everything that could be contaminated, such as bodily fluids, discharges and excrement. Never touch anything with your bare hands.
Use a thermometer to take the patient’s temperature. Wash the thermometer after each use with soap and hot water or a disinfectant like alcohol. When you are finished caring for the patient, throw out your gloves and wash your hands again before leaving the unit.
In conclusion, c-diff may be a little talked about bacteria, but it’s certainly one that you don’t want to catch. By taking the measures above to protect yourself and your patients, you can avoid contracting c-diff and help protect the other patients in your unit from contracting it.
Lei, C., Mu, J., Teng, Y., He, L., Xu, F., Zhang, X., … & Zhang, H. G. (2020). Lemon exosome-like nanoparticles-manipulated probiotics protect mice from C. diff infection. Iscience, 23(10), 101571. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S258900422030763X
Mirazimova, N., & Mcninney, T. (2020). Multidisciplinary Approach to Stop the Spread of Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT) Unit. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 26(3), S378. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1083879119310274