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CDC releases guidance to help nursing homes combat antibiotic-resistant infections

September 16, 2015
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes, a guidance to assist nursing homes in implementing an antibiotic stewardship program. The program seeks to improve antibiotic prescribing practices and reduce their inappropriate use.

Antibiotics are the most frequently prescribed medications in nursing homes. Up to 75 percent of antibiotics prescribed in nursing homes are given incorrectly, meaning either the drug is unnecessary or the prescription is for the wrong drug, dose, or duration, according to the CDC.

"Superbugs that are hard to treat pose a health risk to all Americans, particularly the elderly whose bodies don’t fight infection as well,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “One way to keep older Americans safe from these superbugs is to make sure antibiotics are used appropriately all the time and everywhere, particularly in nursing homes.”

The CDC advises that to develop a successful antibiotic stewardship, there must be leadership commitment; accountability; drug expertise, including experience or training in improving antibiotic use; tracking, reporting an ongoing education to inform families, residents and staff about antibiotic resistance and how to reduce the risk of acquiring antibiotic-resistant infections, such as C. difficile..

“We encourage nursing homes to work in a step-wise manner implementing one or two activities at first, and then gradually adding new strategies from each core element over time,” said Nimalie Stone, MD, CDC medical epidemiologist for long-term care. “Taking any of these actions to improve antibiotic use in a nursing home will help protect against antibiotic-resistant infections and more effectively treat infections. This could lead to better recoveries from infections and ultimately improve health outcomes for all residents.”

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