Reducing length of stay to improve Clostridium difficile-related health outcomes

Related Staff:

Brain D.C., Barnett A.G., Yakob L., Clements A., Riley T.V., Halton K., Graves N. (2018) Reducing length of stay to improve Clostridium difficile-related health outcomes. Infection, Disease and Health. Published online ahead of print: DOI: 1016/j.idh.2018.01.001


Background: Clostridium difficile infection is a serious hospital-acquired infection, causing negative outcomes for those who are afflicted by it. Hospital length of stay is known to be a risk factor for transmission and significant reductions in infection numbers can be realised if transmission is reduced.

Methods: A Markov model was constructed to compare the impact that five alternative healthcare scenarios had on total C. difficile infections, QALYs gained and total number of patients requiring treatment in ICU. A previously published stochastic transmission model for C. difficile informed scenario effectiveness, while other parameters were estimated from published literature, administrative datasets and expert opinion.

Results: Reducing inpatient LOS disrupts transmission of C. difficile and results in a large reduction of total infections. In turn, an increase in QALYs is expected when the number of infections is reduced. A reduction in infections reduces the number of ICU admissions, which is likely to have a large economic benefit in the Australian setting. Coupling a reduction in overall inpatient LOS with a ‘traditional’ infection control intervention, such as hand hygiene or antimicrobial stewardship, improves results further than reducing LOS on its own.

Conclusion: Implementing a LOS-focused intervention would be a practical challenge, especially for clinicians who already juggle high demand. However, it is not unattainable with the right local endorsement and could have significant benefits for health services.

Also in this section