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URMC / Research / Research@URMC / May 2014 / Fighting C. diff in a Hot Spot – Nursing Homes

Fighting C. diff in a Hot Spot – Nursing Homes

Medical pillsPreventing C. diff – a bacterial infection that can cause life-threatening diarrhea and inflammation of the colon – in healthcare facilities is a top priority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as it looks to cut the country’s sky-high healthcare costs. URMC’s Ghinwa Dumyati, M.D., who already leads a citywide effort to fight C. diff at four Rochester hospitals, has been tapped by the state to combat the infection in another hot spot – nursing homes. She and co-leader Elizabeth S. Dodds Ashley, Pharm.D., received $950,000 from the New York State Department of Health to work on reducing C. diff in Rochester-area nursing homes over the next five years.

A major goal of the new project is to reduce the burden of C. diff in nursing homes by decreasing inappropriate use of antibiotics.  Local data shows that close to 90 percent of Monroe County nursing home residents who acquired C. diff had received antibiotics in the previous 12 weeks. The drugs kill bacteria in the gut that keep C. diff in check.

The team will collect data on antibiotic usage in nursing homes to identify potential interventions to improve the use of the drugs. They’ll also collaborate with medical directors at the homes to develop antimicrobial usage guidelines and education materials for healthcare professionals as well as patients and family members, as it is important to educate them that antibiotics are not always needed.   

Read more about the project here

Emily Boynton | 5/6/2014

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