Urinary tract and other infections common among residents of nursing homes are often treated with antibiotics, which can account for up to 40% of nursing home medications. When used properly, antibiotics are an important tool in long-term care facilities. However, some studies suggest that as many as 25 to 75 percent of these medicines are unnecessarily—and sometimes inappropriately—prescribed.
High rates of antibiotic use have been linked to the growth of healthcare associated infections as well as multi-drug resistant organisms—both of which can be life threatening to elderly patients. Poor antibiotic stewardship can also lead to adverse drug events, hospital admissions, higher health care costs, and antimicrobial resistance.
AIR, with a team of experts in nursing home care and antibiotic stewardship, is developing a Guide to Nursing Home Antimicrobial Stewardship for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The guide will provide nursing homes with a set of easy to use tools to implement antimicrobial stewardship practices.
AIR is researching, creating, and testing the guide, which will be pilot-tested in three nursing homes, then disseminated and evaluated in ten more nursing homes that approximate the characteristics of the U.S. nursing home industry. AIR will collect and examine data on infections and prescribing patterns to assess whether any changes occurred from using the guide, conduct interviews to evaluate the guide’s effectiveness and usefulness, and assess whether using the guide decreases any costs related to antibiotic use in nursing homes.