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To describe the prevalence, characteristics, and appropriateness of systemic antibiotic use in assisted living (AL) and to conduct a preliminary quality improvement intervention trial to reduce inappropriate prescribing.
Pre-post study, with a 13-month intervention period.
Four AL communities.
All prescribers, all AL staff who communicate with prescribers, and all patients who had an infection during the baseline and intervention periods.
A standardized form for AL staff, an online education course and 5 practice briefs for prescribers, and monthly quality improvement meetings with AL staff.
Monthly inventory of all systemic antibiotic prescriptions; interviews with the prescriber, AL staff member, closest family member, and patient (when capable) regarding 85 antibiotic prescribing episodes (30 baseline, 55 intervention), with data review by an expert panel to determine prescribing appropriateness.
The mean number of systemic antibiotic prescriptions was 3.44 per 1,000 resident-days at baseline and 3.37 during the intervention, a nonsignificant change (P = .30). Few prescribers participated in online training. AL staff use of the standardized form gradually increased during the program. The proportion of prescriptions rated as probably inappropriate was 26% at baseline and 15% during the intervention, a nonsignificant trend (P = .25). Drug selection was largely appropriate during both time periods.
AL antibiotic prescribing rates appear to be approximately one-half those seen in nursing homes, with up to a quarter being potentially inappropriate. Interventions to improve prescribing must reach all physicians and staff and most likely will require long time periods to have the optimal effect.
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