Infection control policies and practices for Iowa long-term care facility residents with Clostridium difficile infection

Laura K. Quinn, Yiyi Chen, Loreen A. Herwaldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. To identify infection control policies and practices used by Iowa long-termcare facilities (LTCFs) for residents with Clostridium difficile infection or C. difficile-associated diarrhea and to assess use of antimicrobial agents. DESIGN. Survey. SETTING. LTCFs in Iowa that responded between March 25, 2005 (ie, when surveys were mailed), and July 2005. RESULTS. Of the 418 LTCFs in Iowa, 263 (62.9%) responded. Most facilities (94.3%) reported that they accept persons known to have C. difficile infection. Few LTCFs reported that clusters of C. difficile infection had been identified. However, only 111 facilities (42.2%) had a protocol to identify residents with C. difficile infection, and most (77.5%) did not test for C. difficile unless a resident had severe diarrhea. Only 58.5% of the facilities placed residents with C. difficile infection in private rooms, and 60.9% cohorted residents infected with C. difficile with other residents with C. difficile colonization or infection. Only 66 facilities (25.1%) have a program to control the use of antimicrobial agents. Staff could use alcohol-based hand gel products after contact with residents known to have C. difficile infection (in 188 facilities [71.5%]) or diarrhea (in 173 [65.8%]). However, the survey did not ask whether the staff used alcohol-based products instead of soap and water. CONCLUSIONS. C. difficile is present in Iowa LTCFs, but many C. difficile infections probably remain undiagnosed. Staff in LTCFs should be educated about this organism so that they can implement appropriate testing and preventive strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1228-1232
Number of pages5
JournalInfection control and hospital epidemiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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