04 April 2016

3 simple ways to embed Antimicrobial Stewardship into your Residential Aged Care Facility

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Did you know that Australia has one of the highest rates of antibiotic use in the OECD region? With the rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), this simply isn’t acceptable. 

Due to the high use of antibiotics across Australia’s aged care setting, residential aged care facilities (RACs) have a great opportunity to reduce Australia’s unnecessary use of antibiotics. Whilst there is potential for RACFs to make a difference, it must first start with embedding an effective antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) culture within the organisation.  

When I was in high-school I did some volunteer work in a nursing home, one of the ladies who I used to visit actually told me that she had contracted a Staph infection from her time in hospital. She was in a RAC and still had the infection 6 months on and no one could do much about it, seeing as though there weren’t any available antibiotics to cure it. She was in so much pain and there was nothing anybody could do to help her. 

My visit to the nursing home was nearly 7 years ago and awareness of both AMR and AMS have progressed a long way since then. However there is still not much work being done to combat AMR in aged care facilities. Follow these three easy steps to embed AMS into your aged care facility:

1.       Educate your staff
  • Educating your staff creates awareness and awareness leads to change. If your team knows how they can reduce AMR, they are more likely to make a difference.
  • Break down the concept of antimicrobial stewardship for staff, defining what it really is.
  • Whilst senior practitioners have the knowledge and confidence to make decisions, they are generally more resistant to change.
  • Junior practitioners are typically more open and willing to adapt. However they need a confidence boost to make appropriate decisions.   

2.       Utilise available resources
  • There is a lot of work currently being done on AMS. Use free resources online (ACSQHC) to see what is being done in the space. Keep an eye on AMS courses for further training.
  • Look at what other healthcare organisations are doing. National guidelines and clinical care standards are enforcing hospitals and day surgeries to satisfy AMS requirements, seek counsel from them. Making a difference could be as simple as organism resistant curtains or hand hygiene.   

3.       Track any AMS initiatives in use
  • Tracking what you’re doing will help you determine how successful you really are.  
  • Keep an eye on technologies in the space, they could make a huge difference to your AMS practices (eASY System).   
Follow these 3 easy steps and you’re sure to make AMS a success in your residential aged care facility!

Akolade is running our Targeting and Evaluating AMS Success Forum in Melbourne, 28th – 30th June 2016. For more information please see Akolade’s website and microsite.

Ashley has lived on Manly beachfront her entire life – she worships the sun and chases it year round. Having recently finished her Bachelor of Business in Portugal’s gorgeous capital, Lisbon, she thought that producing conferences at Akolade would be a great new experience.  Ashley loves her new dinner-time conversation, enlightening people on her research topics!

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