CDC Promotes Campaign to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance in Long-Term Care Residents

WASHINGTON and ATLANTA -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today unveiled an educational campaign to help long-term care medical directors and clinicians prevent antimicrobial resistance and protect the health of their residents.

The new campaign, announced during the American Society on Aging conference in San Francisco, is an addition to the larger Campaign to Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance in Healthcare Settings launched in March 2002. It focuses on four key strategies for preventing antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings: 1) preventing infection, 2) diagnosing and treating infection effectively, 3) using antimicrobials wisely, and 4) preventing transmission of drug-resistant pathogens. The program provides 12 easy-to-follow action steps that clinicians can immediately implement to prevent antimicrobial resistance in long-term care residents. The action steps derived from existing evidenced-based guidelines and recommendations developed by CDC and other organizations.

"Developing and implementing prevention and control programs for antimicrobial-resistant pathogens in long-term care facilities are especially challenging because of the unique nature of these facilities and their residents," said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC's healthcare quality promotion program. "This campaign provides a simple program to combat this problem in long-term care facilities."

Antimicrobial-resistant infections in healthcare settings pose a major threat to patient safety. More than 40 percent of adults in the United States will spend some time in long-term care facilities (LTCFs) before death and the majority of residents will be in residence a year or more. As LTCFs become an increasingly important site of medical care and antimicrobial prescribing for older adults, prevention and control of antimicrobial-resistant infections in these settings have gained new urgency. The microbiology of pathogens in LTCFs is similar to that in hospitals. Each year in the United States, an estimated 2 million hospitalized people acquire infections that result in more than 90,000 deaths. Bacteria causing more than half of these infections are resistant to at least one of the antimicrobials commonly used to treat them, according to CDC.

The 12 action steps include: preventing conditions that lead to infection, reducing use of unnecessary medical devices and breaking the chain of contagion. A full list of the steps is available at http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/healthcare/ltc/12steps_ltc.htm.

As part of the new campaign, CDC is developing educational materials including: posters, a slide set featuring the 12 action steps and the evidence to support them, and a campaign brochure for LTCF staff and residents' families.

"Antibiotic resistance is a threat to everyone," said Cardo. "CDC believes that this educational campaign will increase patient safety by preventing these infections."

For more information on CDC's campaign to prevent antimicrobial resistance in healthcare settings go to www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/healthcare.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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