My dad is 94yrs old. He had pneumonia, was hospitalized and is now in acute rehab. During hospitalization it was found he had a mass on his lung. He now contracted c-diff in rehab and is in a private room and on antibiotics. He is on the antibiotics over one week. He has not eaten in at least two weeks. He is drinking some. They are still taking him to therapy sessions. Can it be cured? Is his not eating a result of his dementia? It is so frustrating to watch him getting thinner and weaker. He could be in rehab until end of September and medicare will cover. Before his hospitalization he lived with me. Any suggestions on what to do. I know I cannot take him home while he has this infection and is it in fact anything that can be cured.

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Mother had it two different times and did fine. You do not ever forget that odor!
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Mom had c-diff at 93. She recovered fully.
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I have limited experience, only through knowledge of people who've had it under very differing circumstances. One was a close relative whose health had slowly declined. She contracted it after a series of hospitalizations for other issues and eventually was able to overcome it, although her condition was such that she eventually succumbed to other medical complications.

Another was a younger woman, a Martha Stewart type who had a need to help others and did so to the detriment of her own health. She was weak for weeks but has made a comeback although she's not back to normal yet.

These are contrasting women:

One was passive, not particularly active, ate poorly, and allowed her mentally unstable daughter to take care of her, resulting in a variety of medical as well as legal and financial problems. She was not mentally strong.

The other was very strong mentally, wouldn't allow anyone to be responsible or help her, but really could not help extending help to anyone in need. She literally wore herself out, but the mental attitude she had helped her conquer and retain her health.

So in answer to your question, from my limited knowledge I think recovery really depends on the individual, the conditions, original health, co-morbidity factors, strength and determination, and family support.

The person who recovered battled for weeks going into months, but she was determined despite her weakness. I recall that she said she also had lost her appetite - she was just too weak to think about food.

If I were in your shoes, I would research C-Diff so you have a good idea of what's involved, continue to support my father, plan to take him home when he's sufficiently recovered, and do whatever you can to encourage him to fight the infection.

I also would ask the DON or Admins about supplemental nutrition, including a feeding tube (there's that awful concept that people don't like to hear) which could provide him with nutrition while he recovers, if he's just not able to get enough nutrition to sustain himself.

Hang in there and think positively!
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c-diff is clostridium difficile, a nasty bacteria that normally inhabits the digestive tract but that can get out of control, especially in elderly people whose immune systems are weak due to age or illness. It runs rampant in nursing homes and hospitals.

C-diff causes very weak stools which leads to dehydration.

The antibiotics that Dr.'s prescribe for c-diff are flagyl and vancomycin. Usually they try the flagyl first and if that doesn't help they bring on the vancomycin. And yes, c-diff most certainly can be cured with antibiotics but because it's usually contracted in a hospital or nursing home the person risks re-infection while in a facility. However, it's a stubborn little bug and it can take weeks for it to clear up.

While c-diff is contagious it usually isn't harmful to those of us who are not elderly and who have decent immune systems. Someone with c-diff can live at home. As long as you wear gloves when changing Depends, and wash your hands frequently there's little chance that you will become infected.

As a home healthcare nurse I can smell c-diff a mile away as it has a very distinct odor. I've had patients who live at home with c-diff and I've never had a problem with it.

The most important thing is to ensure your dad is taking in enough fluids. The dehydration associated with c-diff is more problematic than the c-diff itself. While visiting your dad the hospital should have a cart outside his room with gowns and gloves for you to wear. That's not so much for your protection but for your dad's as c-diff is everywhere in a facility.

If you're concerned about bringing him home with c-diff talk to the hospital's infectious diseases Dr. People with c-diff can live at home unless the infection has taken too big of a toll on the body. Your dad may have to remain hospitalized due to dehydration or pain or other related issues that go along with c-diff. But if they want to discharge him learn about c-diff so you can care for him properly and protect yourself. But again, it's difficult for us to catch. Nurses carry it on their person, on their hands, and they transmit it from patient to patient, that's how it spreads. You should be fine.
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My mother had non-Hodgkins lymphoma and received Rutuxin as a treatment. Even though she did not take all the treatments, she went into remission. She then got a staph infection on her nose that took more than a month to clear up. She was given strong antibiotics which then resulted in contracting C-Dif. Another hospital stay and more antibiotics. It finally went away after one year. But all the treatments left her more debilitated. At his advanced age, I would listen to the doctors and go by what they say.
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Frankly, it sounds like when a decision has to be made on his future care, his doctor may think that hospice is appropriate. If he hasn't eaten in two weeks, that is, I think, a precursor that he's very seriously ill.

Take it one day at a time, Lou.
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