The policy, which went into effect in November, is intended to curb the widespread overuse of antibiotics across nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Antibiotics are the most frequently prescribed medication in nursing homes, and studies show that 40% to 75% of such prescriptions are inappropriate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This has contributed in part to antibiotic resistance, which has been deemed a global health concern by the United Nations, according to Modern Healthcare.
PruittHealth gathered leaders across its organization to implement policies that would comply with the agency's stipulations as well as be applicable to its more than 80 long-term facilities spread across four states. The provider educated its staff about the changes, creating webinars and other materials. It also trained pharmacists to be infection preventionists that review prescribing patterns data, identify infections through diagnostic testing and follow up on potentially inappropriate drug orders.
Even though the program has been successfully rolled out across its centers, it needs constant retooling.
"We are still working this, we are still implementing pieces as we go to try to make the program stronger," said Crystal Bowens, senior vice president of professional services at PruittHealth.
Implementing stewardship programs at long-term care facilities requires a significant culture change, leaders say. Physicians have to amend their prescribing patterns, pharmacists must diligently monitor prescription data and nurses need to watch out for any changes in patients' conditions.
"It really has taken a team effort. We have to monitor things closely," said Tuesday VanTuyl, director of nursing at Brookside Inn, a skilled nursing facility in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Read the full story at Modern Healthcare.