Addressing Unnecessary Antibiotic Use in Nursing Homes

When used properly, antibiotics are an important tool to help keep nursing home residents healthy. However, research shows that up to 75 percent of antibiotics 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—which both can threaten the lives of elderly nursing home patients. Poor antibiotic stewardship also can lead to adverse drug events, hospital admissions, higher health care costs, and antimicrobial resistance.

To address the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, AIR developed practical technical assistance and tools to curb misuse and overuse of antibiotics in nursing homes. Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the AIR-developed Nursing Home Antimicrobial Stewardship Guide includes step-by-step toolkits to help on-the-ground clinicians determine if antibiotics are needed for suspected infections; document prevalent bacteria in the nursing home and identify effective antibiotics to combat them; and engage residents and families in preventing antibiotic-resistant infections.