Nursing assistants most vulnerable to C. diff contamination on hands, research shows

Share this article:

Healthcare workers frequently have Clostridium difficile spores on their hands after providing routine care for an infected person, and nursing assistants have by far the highest incidence of contamination, according to recently published research from France.

Researchers based at a university hospital in Paris examined caregivers' hands after they came into contact with C. diff patients in an infection control unit. Protocols included wearing disposable gowns with full-length sleeves and gloves.

About a quarter of the workers had spores on their hands after providing routine care to these patients, the investigators found. High-risk contact such as digital rectal exams or changing bed linen increased the likelihood of colonization.

Nursing assistants (42%) were more likely to be contaminated than physicians (23%) or nurses (19%). This likely is because the assistants had more high-risk contact with patients, the researchers surmised.

"This is the first known study focusing on the carriage of viable C. difficile spores on healthcare workers' hands," stated lead author Caroline Landelle, Pharm.D., Ph.D. "Because C. difficile spores are so resistant and persistent to disinfection, glove use is not an absolute barrier against the contamination of healthcare workers' hands.”

Caregivers must wash their hands and follow hand hygiene protocols, Landelle stressed.

Findings appear in the current issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

Share this article:

More in News

MedPAC discusses limiting patients' post-acute options

MedPAC discusses limiting patients' post-acute options

Medicare rules might have to be relaxed to give hospitals more say in where patients go for post-acute care, members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission proposed at a recent ...

Nursing home workers told not to touch residents due to Ebola concerns

U.S. nursing home workers who hail from West Africa are being stigmatized as potential Ebola carriers and forbidden from touching residents, according to IRIN, an independent news service launched by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Former office manager charged with embezzling half a million dollars from residents

The former business office manager of a Michigan nursing home has been charged with embezzling more than $460,000 from the resident trust fund, the state's attorney general announced last Thursday.