Q: What is the isolation protocol for patients infected with Clostridium difficile? How long should routine cultures be done once a patient has a confirmed diagnosis? Any special nursing interventions or treatment for this diagnosis? What is best practice in caring for these patients?

A: Susan Smith, aprn, dnp, acns-bc, and Jennifer Taylor, rn, msn, reply:

The number of C difficile infections (CDIs) has doubled from 2000 to 2009, and C difficile now rivals methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus as the most frequent cause of health care–associated infection in the United States. It is the most common cause of health care–associated diarrhea and accounts for 15% to 25% of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.2,3  Costs are estimated to be more than $1.3 billion per year. For many reasons, CDI has captured the interest of both insurers and...

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