An evaluation of the effectiveness of an algorithm intervention in reducing inappropriate faecal samples sent for Clostridium difficile testing.

Irene Thompson, Colin Lavelle, Laurence Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
253 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) is a leading cause of infectious diarrhoea in hospitals. Sending faecal samples for testing expedites diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Clinical suspicion of C. difficile based on patient history, signs and symptoms is the basis for sampling. Sending faecal samples from patients with diarrhoea ‘just in case’ the patient has C. difficile may be an indication of poor clinical management.

Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention by an Infection Prevention and Control Team (IPCT) in reducing inappropriate faecal samples sent for C. difficile testing.

Method: An audit of numbers of faecal samples sent before and after a decision-making algorithm was introduced. The number of samples received in the laboratory was retrospectively counted for 12-week periods before and after an algorithm was introduced.
Findings: There was a statistically significant reduction in the mean number of faecal samples sent post the algorithm. Results were compared to a similar intervention carried out in 2009 in which the same message was delivered by a memorandum. In 2009 the memorandum had no effect on the overall number of weekly samples being sent.

Conclusion: An algorithm intervention had an effect on the number of faecal samples being sent for C. difficile testing and thus contributed to the effective use of the laboratory service.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-286
JournalJournal of Infection Prevention
Volume17
Issue number6
Early online date06 Jul 2016
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 06 Jul 2016

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