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New Resources for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Long-Term Care

Dear Colleagues,

Public Health Ontario (PHO) is pleased to announce that it has developed a series of resources to address the overuse of antibiotics in long-term care homes (LTCHs).

Up to half of antibiotic prescriptions in long-term care may not be necessary. The overuse of antibiotics in LTCHs can lead to harm for residents, such as C. difficile, side effects and antibiotic resistance.

The new PHO resources will be bundled under two topics and posted online:

1.      Shorter is Smarter: For most infections treated in LTCHs (such as urinary tract infection, pneumonia, skin and soft tissue infection), shorter courses are equally effective as longer courses and have lower risk of harm. PHO has developed aninfographic on why Shorter is Smarter, a one-page fact sheet containing duration recommendations and three evidence briefs that support the fact sheet recommendations.
2.      Antimicrobial Stewardship Essentials: Antimicrobial Stewardship Essentials is aprimer that aims to help LTCHs that are interested in developing an antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP). Also available is a checklist to provide ideas and practical examples to improve antibiotic use in LTCHs.

PHO is committed to supporting improved antibiotic use in Ontario LTCHs and is looking for your support to keep Ontarians safe. We also encourage physicians working in LTCHs to sign up for MyPractice reports to support improved antibiotic use in Ontario. Over 400 long-term care physicians in Ontario have signed up to receive a confidential, voluntary report about their practice from Health Quality Ontario. Physicians can review their prescribing patterns in relation to their peers at the regional and provincial levels and get suggestions to support improved care for residents.

Physicians will soon receive antibiotic indicators to see how many of their residents have started on antibiotics and if their prescriptions are for more than seven days, which may be longer than necessary.

PHO would like to thank the clinicians who contributed their insight and time into the development of these resources. Please share these resources with colleagues to whom this may be of interest and contact us at asp@oahpp.ca if you have any additional feedback.

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