Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center Reduces C.diff Infections

Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center is now recognized among the best performing hospitals in the country when it comes to protecting patients from the potentially deadly intestinal infection known as Clostridium difficile (C.diff). This year, Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center's C.diff Prevention Program has produced an impressive 85% reduction in C.diff infections when compared to 2017. This represents the largest improvement rate in the Hackensack Meridian Health network.

In the photo...

(left to right) Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center's Thomas White, Assistant Director of Radiology; Donna Damon, Director of Nursing Informatics; Noemi Rivera, Supervisor of Housekeeping; Doreen McSharry, Director of Safety/Infection Prevention; Jeffrey M. Raskin, M.D., Gastroenterologist and Physician Champion of the Clostridium Difficile Prevention Program; Maria Peterson, Director of Housekeeping; Rose Lee, PharmD, Medication Safety Officer/Clinical Coordinator of the Pharmacy; Badeiah Nammour, Clinical Coordinator of Nursing; Ammar Hassan, D.O., Gastroenterology Fellow; and Sameet Shah, D.O., Gastroenterology Fellow.

"We take great pride in the multidisciplinary teams and our partnership with the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program that has led our ongoing efforts to protect our patients from C. diff infections," said Jeffrey M. Raskin, M.D., Gastroenterologist and Physician Champion of the C.diff Prevention Program at Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center. "It takes consistent focus of our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, transporters, dietary staff and environmental services staff. It's about putting our patients at the center of our work and ensuring we keep them safe."

Clostridium difficile (C.diff) is a spore-forming bacterium that is often a normal inhabitant of the colon in healthy people. When people of all ages are exposed to antibiotics, the normal flora of the colon can be disrupted causing an overgrowth of C.diff and a condition called antibiotic-associated diarrhea. In U.S. hospitals, C.diff is the most common antibiotic cause of healthcare associated infections. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), C.diff causes nearly 500,000 infections in U.S. hospitals annually. C.diff can cause swelling and inflammation of the colon, known as colitis, which lead to diarrhea, fever, nausea, dehydration, abdominal pain and in some cases death. People who have other illnesses or conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics, but especially the elderly, are at greater risk of developing C.diff.

Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center was determined to protect their patients from this destructive infection. In November 2017, under the leadership of Dr. Raskin and Doreen McSharry, Director of Safety and Infection Prevention, Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center launched the C.diff Prevention Program dedicated to protecting its patients from this aggressive and potentially-deadly infection. The campaign includes:

  • C.diff-specific educational seminars for all team members and Continuing Medical Education for Medical Staff
  • C.diff-specific Patient Education
  • Comprehensive C.diff patient case reviews and process improvement
  • Implementation of evidence-based practices
  • Antibiotic Stewardship (limiting antibiotic use)
  • Timely and appropriate patient testing
  • Specialized patient meal trays
  • A strong emphasis on hand hygiene and patient isolation
  • Aggressive cleaning and decontamination of patient care areas
  • Using the most state-of-the-art technology

About Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center

Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center is located at 7600 River Road in North Bergen, NJ, and it serves a population of 400,000 in Hudson and southern Bergen counties. The not-for-profit medical center is a part of the Hackensack Meridian Health System, and it features a 202-bed hospital and The Harborage, a 245-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center.

Palisades Medical Center is ranked as one of the top hospitals of its size in New Jersey by Inside Jersey magazine and Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. The New Jersey Hospital Association (NJHA) has honored Palisades Medical Center with its prestigious Community Outreach Award for its year-round commitment to educate residents, improve access to care, and reduce health disparities. Palisades Medical Center is the largest employer in its service area with more than 1,300 employees. It has been recognized as one of Modern Healthcare's Best Places to Work in Healthcare. For more information, please call (201) 854-5000 or visit palisadesmedical.org.