Putting stickers on commodes after cleaning, so staff can see which ones are dirty, and introducing a movement-activated voice box reminding people to wash their hands have seen infection rates plummet at a Manchester trust.
Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust had over 400 recorded cases of the infection in 2006–2007, 30% of which came from five elderly care wards alone, conference delegates heard last week.
With the aim of reducing this figure by 50% in 12 months, a multidisciplinary team – including nurses, pharmacists and domestic staff from each of the five wards – met to ‘brainstorm’ ideas for improving infection control practices, which were then taken back to wards to see how they worked in practice.
Since the initiative began, there has been a 68% reduction in the rates of C. difficile on the five wards – from 122 recorded cases in April 2007 to just 38 cases in April 2008.
Maxine Power, associate director of quality improvement at the trust, said: ‘This shows that adopting different ways of thinking, and making small, practical changes that are robust and reliable, can have a significant impact on infection rates.’