Does recurrent C diff change patient behaviors?

A study, published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, examined whether patients who have suffered repeated bouts of Clostridium difficile infections change their behavior patterns and whether these changes prevent future infections.

Researchers polled 119 patients who had suffered recurrent C. diff infections and were treated at Chicago-area hospitals. They defined recurrent infections as a second episode of C. diff within 15 to 56 days of an initial episode.

Of the 119 patients:

●    50 percent had been hospitalized with C. diff or a diarrhea-related illness in the past three years
●    58.5 percent rated their diarrhea as severe
●    30.7 percent reported severe exhaustion
●    41.5 percent said they were worried about getting sick again
●    31 percent were worried about being infecting others

Researchers found:

●    47 percent said that they have washed their hands more frequently
●    45 percent have increased their use of soap and water since their illness
●    Between 22 percent and 32 percent reported eating out less, avoiding certain medications and public areas as well as increasing probiotic use

"Having had [recurrent C. diff infection] appears to increase prevention-related behaviors in some patients," study authors noted. "While some behaviors are appropriate (eg, handwashing), others are not supported by evidence of decreased risk and may negatively impact patient quality of life. Providers should discuss appropriate prevention behaviors with their patients and should clarify that other behaviors (eg, eating out less) will not affect their risk of future illness."

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