AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released March 20, 2015; updated July 2, 2015

Don’t obtain a C. difficile toxin test to confirm “cure” if symptoms have resolved.

Rates of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) have been increasing, especially among older adults who have recently been hospitalized or who reside in the PA/LTC setting. Patients residing in PA/LTC facilities are particularly at risk for CDI because of advanced age, frequent hospitalizations and frequent antibiotic exposure. However, only symptomatic patients should be tested. Furthermore, studies have shown that C. difficile tests may remain positive for as long as 30 days after symptoms have resolved. False positive “test-of-cure” specimens may complicate clinical care and result in additional courses of inappropriate anti-C. difficile therapy. To limit the spread of C. difficile, care providers in the PA/LTC setting should concentrate on early detection of symptomatic patients and the consistent use of proper infection control practices, including hand washing with soap and water, contact precautions, and environmental cleaning with 1:10 dilution of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) prepared fresh daily.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1–5: AMDA – The Society for Post -Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine convened a work group made up of members from the Clinical Practice Committee (CPC). Members of the CPC include board certified geriatricians, certified medical directors, multi-facility medical directors, attending practitioners, physicians practicing in both office-based and nursing facility practice, physicians in rural, suburban and academic settings, those with university appointments, and more. It was important to AMDA that the workgroup chosen represent the core base of the AMDA membership. Ideas for the “five things” were solicited from the workgroup. Suggested elements were considered for appropriateness, relevance to the core of the specialty and opportunities to improve patient care. They were further refined to maximize impact and eliminate overlap, and then ranked in order of potential importance both for the specialty and for the public. A literature search was conducted to provide supporting evidence or refute the activities. The list was modified and a second round of selection of the refined list was sent to the workgroup for paring down to the final “top five” list. Finally, the work group chose its top five recommendations before submitting a final draft to the AMDA Executive Committee, which were then approved.

6–10: The AMDA Choosing Wisely® endeavor utilized a similar procedure as published in JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174 (40:509-515 – A Top 5 List for Emergency Medicine for our five items.

The AMDA Clinical Practice Committee acted as the Technical Expert Panel (TEP).

Phase 1 – The Clinical Practice Committee (CPC) along with the Infection Advisory Committee clinicians brainstormed an initial list of low-value clinical decisions that are under control of PA/LTC physicians that were thought to have a potential for cost savings.

Phase 2 – Each member of the CPC selected five low-value tests considering the perceived contribution to cost (how commonly the item is ordered and the individual expense of the test/treatment/action), benefit of the item (scientific evidence to support use of the item in the literature or in guidelines); and highly actionable (use decided by PA/LTC clinicians only).

Phase 3 – A survey was sent to all AMDA members. Statements were phrased as specific overuse statements by using the word “don’t,” thereby reflecting the action necessary to improve the value of care.

Phase 4 – CPC members reviewed survey results and chose the five items.

AMDA’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.amda.com.

Sources

Riggs MM, Sethi AK, Zabarsky TF, Eckstein EC, Jump RL, Donskey CJ. Asymptomatic carriers are a potential source for transmission of epidemic and nonepidemic Clostridium difficile strains among long-term care facility residents. Clin Infect Dis. 2007 Oct 15;45 (8):992.

Surawicz CM, Brandt LJ, Binion DG, Ananthakrishnan AN, Curry SR, Gilligan PH, McFarland LV, Mellow M, Zuckerbraun BS. Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of Clostridium difficile infections. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Apr;108(4):478–98.