New CDC Recommendations to Improve Hospital Antibiotic Use

Antibiotic Use

New recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise all nursing homes to improve antibiotic prescribing practices and reduce their inappropriate use to protect residents from the consequences of antibiotic-resistant infections, such as C. difficile.

To guide these improvements, CDC released a new resource: Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes.

The Core Elements for Nursing Homes expand upon CDC’s recommendation last year that all acute care hospitals implement an antibiotic stewardship program designed to optimize treatment of infections while reducing adverse events associated with antibiotic use.

Approximately 4.1 million Americans are admitted to or reside in nursing homes each year; antibiotics are the most frequently prescribed medications in nursing homes.

Up to 70 percent of residents receive one or more courses of antibiotics during a year; 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.

The guide provides examples of how antibiotic use can be monitored and improved by nursing home leadership and staff.

The companion checklist can be used to assess policies and practices already in place and to review progress in expanding stewardship activities on a regular basis.

As part of the plan, within three years CDC will provide technical assistance to federal facilities (e.g., those operated by the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Indian Health Service) and other large health systems to scale up implementation and assess interventions to improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing, extend effective interventions to long-term care settings, and ensure long-term sustainability of antibiotic stewardship efforts.

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