Image of nurses' hands at computer keyboard

Nursing home regulation changes announced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week includes a proposal that would require long-term care facilities to have an antibiotic stewardship program.

Antibiotics account for 40% of prescriptions given in long-term care facilities, but between 25% and 75% of these prescriptions may be inappropriate, the CMS proposal states. CMS proposes that facilities establish antibiotic use protocols and systems for monitoring antibiotic use and recording incidents, in order to reduce resident’s risk of adverse drug reactions.

“Nursing homes need to have the tools to participate in surveillance, learn and use infection control and containment practices, and adopt a proactive approach to preventing spread while being good stewards of antibiotics to preserve effectiveness of the agents we have today,” the proposal reads.

Without an antibiotic stewardship program, overuse of antibiotics in nursing homes could lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant or multidrug resistant infections, according to CMS. The proposal is open for comments from the public until September 14.