CDC issues antibiotic guidance for nursing homes

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Skilled nursing facilities need to improve their relationships with antibiotic experts and find leaders within to lead stewardship efforts, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resource released this week.

Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship for Nursing Homes was released to guide antibiotic prescribing practices and help reduce the harmful effects of antibiotic resistant infections such as C. difficile, according to the CDC. The guide builds on the CDC's recommendation last year that all acute care facilities design an antibiotic stewardship program.

The core elements described in the guide include gaining access to experts with experience in improving antibiotic use, tracking how antibiotics are used and identifying leaders within the facility who are responsible for overseeing antibiotic stewardship activities. The guide includes a checklist that providers can use to assess existing practices and review the progress of improvement activities.

"Superbugs that are hard to treat pose a health risk to all Americans, particularly the elderly whose bodies don't fight infection as well," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in a press release. "One way to keep older Americans safe from these superbugs is to make sure antibiotics are used appropriately all the time and everywhere, particularly in nursing homes."