On the cusp of flu season, The Joint Commission has launched a new program to help providers educate residents and families on the proper use of antibiotics and the dangers of antibiotic overuse.
The Speak Up on Antibiotics campaign offers free resources that long-term care providers can use to educate residents and their families on what antibiotics can—and can’t—do . “Antibiotics are powerful drugs used to fight specific infections. However, they do not work for every illness, including viruses that cause colds and the flu,” said Lisa Waldowski, MS, APRN, CIC, agency infection control specialist, in a Joint Commission announcement. “The campaign provides a variety of resources to help patients and caregivers understand that how they use antibiotics today can affect how well the drugs work for them tomorrow.”
Excessive or improper use of antibiotics leads to resistant strains of bacteria that become increasingly difficult to combat. Many dangerous healthcare-associated bacterial infections have already become resistant to antibiotics, including Methicillin-resistant staphylolococcus aureus (MRSA), carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) and Klebsiella pneumonia. Long-term care settings are especially vulnerable to infection outbreaks, since residents live in close proximity to each other, may have weakened immune systems and are often mobile.
In addition to materials that show the dos and don’t’s of taking antibiotics, the agency also offers a podcast and video for posting on provider websites and social media. The antibiotics stewardship program is part of The Joint Commission’s SpeakUp series, which includes segments on patient safety, memory care, pain management and other topics.
To access or download the antibiotics educational materials, visit the SpeakUp on Antibiotics program page.
For other infection control resources, see The Joint Commission’s Infection Prevention Portal.