Addressing challenges in care for patients with Clostridioides difficile infection

Woman with colorectal cancer, photo by ryanking999/Adobe Stock

What is the issue?

C. difficile is a bacteria that is commonly found in the human digestive system. In healthy people, the bacteria does not cause any harm as it is kept from multiplying to harmful levels by other gut bacteria. However, the use of antibiotics can kill the gut bacteria that keeps C. difficile supressed, causing it to multiply to toxic levels. This can lead to a range of symptoms, such as diarrhoea, fever, swelling of the small intestine, sepsis and, in some cases, death.

Patients with C. difficile infections can face a number of challenges when getting a diagnosis, as well as undergoing treatment and management of the infection. For example, diagnostics can take substantial time to produce a result and there can be difficulties in distinguishing between non-harmful C. difficile colonisation and a harmful infection. Treatment can also be challenging due to the risk of recurrence, a limited number of antibiotic options, as well as the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

How are we helping?

RAND Europe has been commissioned by Ferring Pharmaceuticals to undertake an independent study that aims to identify and characterise the challenges in the care pathway for patients with C. difficile infection and consider key areas for improvement in the care patients receive. The main focus is on learning from a range of countries including, but not confined to UK, Italy, France, Australia and Canada. The project will include:

  • A rapid evidence assessment to synthesise the knowledge base about the care pathway of patients with C. difficile infection, challenges and areas for improvement.
  • Key informant interviews with clinicians and patient representatives to further explore the themes arising from the rapid evidence assessment and identify gaps in the literature.
  • A consultative workshop with an expert panel.
  • A Delphi-inspired online survey to explore consensus on the key challenges in the care pathway and priority areas for improvement.

RAND Europe will be collaborating with a panel of clinical and patient representative experts in the delivery of this work