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Groups commit to responsible antibiotic use

June 2, 2015
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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More than 150 food companies, retailers, and human and animal health stakeholders have committed to the responsible use of antibiotics in conjunction with a White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship held June 2. (Note: Video of the forum’s opening session appears at the end of this article.)

For instance:

  • The Alliance for Aging Research said it will create and distribute health education materials for seniors and family caregivers, will initiate stewardship programs and will launch a public policy effort to require long-term care settings to report healthcare-associated infections to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • AMDA–The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine promised to develop and deploy a training course for long-term care practitioners that includes antibiotic stewardship and also to develop a quality prescribing campaign for medication safety that includes a focus on antibiotic stewardship.
  • The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) announced that it has added the goal of reducing hospitalizations resulting from healthcare-acquired infections to its ongoing quality initiative, will promote the CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network reporting program for urinary tract infections, and will conduct training sessions related to antibiotic stewardship and how staff members can work with physicians to address the issue.
  • The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists said it will educate clinical professionals using the CDC’s Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship for guidance, including tracking and reporting antibiotic prescribing patterns. It also committed to taking a leadership role in ensuring the appropriate dissemination of information.
  • Carolinas Medical Center pledged to require antibiotic use reporting at its skilled nursing facilities.
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society said that, over the next five years, it will partner with the CDC to explore development of robust reporting mechanisms for infections and antibiotic prescribing in post-acute and residential senior care centers; provide educational support for residents, families, staff members and provider partners highlighting quality and safety measures key to understanding and supporting prescribing of antibiotics and care practices to minimize harm from medication adverse events, overuse of antibiotics and preventable infections; and create and implement a comprehensive clinical guideline spanning all of the society’s service lines.
  • The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care will develop new consumer educational materials targeting nursing home residents and family caregivers and will host a Facebook “chat” on the subject.

Among the additional organizations that have committed to antibiotic stewardship, according to the White House, are the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (PDF) and the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration/Long-Term Care.

“We’re learning a lot about how important bacteria are in our bodies and the negative consequences of wiping out the good bacteria with the bad,” said Victoria Walker, MD, CMD (left), chief medical officer of the Good Samaritan Society. She was a representative of the long-term care perspective on a panel about aging at the forum. “The more exposure bacteria have to antibiotics, the more likely they are to become antibiotic resistant. The result is that you can end up getting an infection that’s very serious and antibiotics don’t work for and that can be fatal.”

Representing AHCA/NCAL at the White House event was Leonard Russ (right), AHCA board chair, principal partner of Bayberry Health Care and co-owner of Aaron Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation in New York. “As a provider, I have seen firsthand the serious consequences to an individual’s health when these life-saving medicines are used in an irresponsible manner,” he said. AHCA/NCAL’s quality initiative is “where we can take a methodical yet comprehensive view of where and when these medicines are appropriate,” he added. “That’s going to save lives moving forward.”

In March, the White House released its five-year strategy to increase antibiotic stewardship and slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, calling it one of the most pressing public health issues in the world today. The CDC estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria contribute to at least two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the United States per year.