(April 12, 2019) The Maryland Patient Safety Center has named Atlantic General Hospital the recipient of the 2019 Minogue Award for Patient Safety Innovation for its success in decreasing hospital-acquired C-diff infections while also reducing isolation time.

C-diff, or Clostridium difficile, is a common but dangerous infection that can result from antibiotic use.

According to the CDC, “when a person takes antibiotics, good bacteria that prevent against infections are destroyed for several months. During this time, patients can get sick from C-diff.”

In 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services charged all US hospitals with the goal of reducing their hospital acquired C-diff rates by 20 percent. To address this, Atlantic General had implemented evidence-based practices to reduce C-diff infections, but realized the need to take further action to reduce the incidence of C-diff.

A goal for innovation was set: to reduce the incidence of C-diff while also reducing the amount of time spent in isolation, increasing patient satisfaction and health outcomes, and decreasing cost.

The Interdisciplinary Infection Prevention committee at the hospital identified that liberal use of contact insolation, which is a quarantine of patients with C-diff or those with a history of the infection, causes patient dissatisfaction and even leads to less interaction with their healthcare providers.

Atlantic General Hospital is focused on the correct isolation for the right patients at the right time.

The team began by addressing the over-prescribing of antibiotics, revising their screening efforts, standardizing patient isolation policies, and providing family and patient education about the risk of C-diff.

“At first, decreasing the number of days a patient remains on contact isolation while attempting to decrease the rate of C-diff infections seems like an oxymoron. Quite frankly, it seems counterintuitive,” said Nicole Morris BSN, CCRN, the manager of Infection Prevention at Atlantic General Hospital. “But, through a number of efforts we achieved that and more.”

Atlantic General Hospital has been providing quality health care to the residents of Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties in Maryland and Sussex County, Delaware, since May 1993.

Built through the commitment and generosity of a dedicated community, Atlantic General’s main facility in Berlin combines the warmth of personalized attention with the reassurance of medical expertise and advanced technology.

The not-for-profit hospital provides quality specialty care in oncology, medical and surgical weight loss, orthopedics and women’s diagnostics, among other services.

Atlantic General Health System, its network of more than 40 primary care providers and specialists, cares for residents and visitors throughout the region.

For more information about Atlantic General Hospital, visit www.atlanticgeneral.org.

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