News and Notices

Inpatient diarrhoea and vomiting update

Any unexplained case of diarrhoea and/or vomiting amongst inpatients or staff should be regarded as potentially infectious and treated as such until an assessment has been carried out and results obtained identifying a non- infectious cause.

True diarrhoea consists entirely of liquid/water and takes the shape of the container it is in (Type 5/6/7 Bristol Stool Chart). Two on more episodes of loose stools are considered as diarrhoea.

Please note according to national guidelines type 5 stools on Bristol Stool Chart  must now be considered as  diarrhoea and will require sending for testing.

According to national standards all inpatients with undiagnosed diarrhoea in hospital settings must be isolated within 2 hours of onset of diarrhoea and barrier precautions implemented. A stool specimen must be obtained at the earliest opportunity for Microbiology and Virology testing. The reason for sending the sample and any relevant clinical history must be made clear on the request form, particularly if the patient has recently been on holiday abroad, had antibiotics or been an inpatient or care home resident within the last few weeks.

Please also ensure that the Infection Prevention and Control Team are informed as soon as possible of any patients with unexplained diarrhoea and/or vomiting.

Where an infections cause such as Clostridioides difficile or Norovirus is confirmed the ward will need to complete a Datix incident report.

See relevant sections of Infection Prevention and Control Policy for further information:

Section 5.9 – Norovirus

Section 5.10 – Assessment and management of diarrhoea

Section 5.11 – Clostridioides difficile

Please also note due to reclassification Clostridium difficile is now known as Clostridioides difficile

For any queries please concact 

T: 01246 515870

E: DCHST.infectioncontrol@nhs.net