Antimicrobial resistance in care homes

April 18, 2019

Boots UK has unveiled findings from its study into antimicrobial resistance in long-term care facilities.

The UK-wide research looks into the use of antibiotics in care homes across the UK. It highlights the use of antibiotics in residential care and identifies potential gaps in knowledge and support for care workers and residents when using antibiotics, with the aim of looking at how community pharmacy can provide additional support.

Residents in care homes are more likely to be associated with higher rates of antibiotic use, particularly for urinary tract infections (UTIs). NHS improvement schemes in England currently focus on reducing inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by 50% by 2021, and improving the primary care management of UTIs to reduce the risk of E.coli blood stream infections.

A survey was conducted by community pharmacists in November and December 2017 where data were collected for almost 18,000 residents across over 600 long-term care facilities in the UK. Whilst these results only provide a snapshot in time of antibiotic use within LTCFs, they are the largest dataset published to date across the UK.

The results of the survey showed that more than two thirds (66.8%) of all care homes visited had a least one resident on antibiotics on the day of the visit.

Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots UK, said, 'The results of this survey show there is a role for pharmacy teams working in collaboration within the LTCF environment to provide a greater focus on antimicrobial stewardship, supporting the national ambition to reduce inappropriate prescribing by 50% by 2021.

'This should include ongoing training and support for carers on self-care for residents, such as practical advice on how to support residents in taking antibiotics such as timings and dose form.'

The research paper, Antimicrobial use in UK long-term care facilities: results of a point prevalence survey, was co-authored by researchers at Boots UK, Public Health England and NHS Improvement. It has been published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.


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