VA sees 36% drop in C. diff infections at long-term care facilities over 2 years

An initiative to lower Clostridium difficile infection rates at Veterans Affairs long-term care facilities coincided with a 36.1 percent decrease in infections over a two-year period, according to a study published in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

For the study, researchers analyzed C. diff infection rates for 33 months — April 2014 through December 2016 — compiled at 132 Veteran's Affairs facilities nationwide. Researchers compared this data with documented infection rates for the two years prior to implementation of the VA's infection reduction initiative in February 2014. While researchers identified no change in C. diff infection rates over the two-year, pre-launch period, the team did identify a 36.1 percent reduction over the 33-month intervention timeframe.

However, researchers could not confirm if the intervention itself was the impetus for the documented reduction in C. diff, according to a report from CIDRAP.

"The exact reason for the decrease in cases within the VA LTCFs is not known," wrote the researchers, according to CIDRAP. "[Due to the] large number of facilities involved and the long observation period, we were not able to collect data on individual facility activities or sustainability of activities; hence, we cannot report a 'magic bullet' responsible for the declining trend."

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