CDC advises nursing homes to improve antibiotic prescribing practices

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released new recommendations advising all nursing homes to improve antibiotic prescribing practices to protect residents from the effects of antibiotic-resistant infections.

"Superbugs that are hard to treat pose a health risk to all Americans, particularly the elderly, whose bodies don’t fight infection as well,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said. “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.”

CDC released a resource, "Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes," to facilitate improvements. The Core Elements said nursing-home antibiotic stewardship activities should, at a minimum, include the following:
1. Leadership commitment: Demonstrate support and commitment to safe and appropriate antibiotic use.
2. Accountability: Identify leaders who are responsible for promoting and overseeing antibiotic stewardship activities at the nursing home.
3. Drug expertise: Establish access to experts with experience or training in improving antibiotic use.
4. Action: Take at least one new action to improve the way antibiotics are used in the facility.
5. Tracking: Measure how antibiotics are used and the complications (e.g., C. difficile infections) from antibiotics in the facility.
6. Reporting: Share information with health care providers and staff about how antibiotics are used in the facility.
7. Education: Provide resources to health care providers, nursing staff, residents and families to learn about antibiotic resistance and opportunities for improving antibiotic use.
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