Antibiotic Stewardship

Author

Larchwood Inns and The PARC Skilled Nursing

Posted on

Sep 01, 2019

Book/Edition

Colorado - Western Slope

Antibiotic Stewardship is the active promotion of appropriate antibiotic use to treat bacterial infections. Antibiotics should only be taken when necessary. Like all medication, antibiotics have side effects and sometimes does more harm than good. They may give you a skin rash, allergic reaction, diarrhea, C-Diff (clostridium difficile), yeast infection, or worse, and you will still feel ill. Reactions from antibiotics caused 1 out of 5 medication-related visits to the emergency room.

Antibiotics only kill bacteria and cannot treat viral illnesses like a cold or flu. Over-use and incorrect use of antibiotics causes bacteria to become resistant to medications and harder to treat. Not taking antibiotics exactly as prescribed includes stopping them to early, not taking the complete prescription or skipping doses. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) each year, in the United States, at least 2 million people get infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. At least 23,000 people die as a result. Antibiotic-resistant MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staph aureus, is one of the most common. MRSA is the bacteria, Staph aureus which is commonly present on the skin and in the nose and has become resistant to penicillin, amoxicillin, and other antibiotics in that same class.

There has been a frequent over-use of antibiotics for treatment of suspected Urinary Tract Infections, or UTIs in older adults. Older adults commonly have bacteria in their urine, but not causing a real infection. Yet there may be complaining of vague symptoms, such as increased confusion, falls, or irritability. The doctor orders a urine test that shows bacteria which leads the doctor to order an antibiotic and the vague symptoms will remain. This has led to the CDC to more specifically define the criteria of diagnosis of a UTI and when a urine test is needed. If needed, and significant for bacteria, a culture is also ordered to define what bacteria is present and what antibiotic would kill that bacteria to ensure treatment with the right antibiotic avoiding use of an antibiotic that would not be effective.
Things you can do to minimize unnecessary or incorrect use of antibiotics:

Avoid antibiotics when possible.
When you have a cough, sore throat or other illness, tell your doctor you only want an antibiotic if necessary.
If you need an antibiotic, take it exactly as it is ordered.

For more information visit the CDC website Get Smart: Know when Antibiotics Work.
Editors Note: This article was submitted by Melissa Latham, RN, NHS, Administrator at Larchwood Inns and the PARC. You can reach her at 970-245-0022 or email Melissa at MelissaL@LarchwoodInn.com

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