What do we know about antimicrobial use in Australian residential aged care facilities?

The National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS) is a multidisciplinary collaborative funded by the NHMRC with a strong track record of innovation and Capturesuccessful translation into clinical practice. We asked Dr Noleen Bennett from NCAS to write about a national antimicobial prescribing survey in aged care. It has brought up some interesting findings.

Thanks for Noleen for this blog – Phil, Brett and Ramon.

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The short answer is we know antimicrobial use in Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs) needs to be improved. The unacceptable risk otherwise is the emergence of multi drug resistant infections and other adverse consequences in this vulnerable population.

In 2015, 186 RACFs participated in the pilot Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey. Key areas for improvement were identified and included:

  • inadequate documentation
    • 31.6% of prescriptions did not have an indication justifying their use
    • 65.0% of prescriptions did not have a review or stop date documented.
  • the use of antimicrobials for unspecified skin infections
    • 17.5% of antimicrobials were being used for unspecified skin infections.
  • prolonged duration of prescriptions.
    • 31.4% of prescriptions had been prescribed for longer than six months.

All Australian RACFs and multi-purpose services are now strongly encouraged each year to participate in acNAPS. Participation assists in ensuring compliance with national guidelines and targeting local and national actions to support appropriate antimicrobial use.

For further information, the friendly NAPS team can be contacted via email support@nasp.org.au or phone (03) 9342 9415. The data collection period for the 2016 acNAPS has been extended. Data can now be collected and entered prior to Friday 9th September.

Declaration: Dr Noleen Bennett is employed at the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship and is the Project Officer for the Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey

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Brett: For those interested in other Australian data in residential and aged care (infection and antimicrobials related) here are some links to articles. (This is not an exhaustive list)

 

 

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