Thursday 30 March 2017

Antibiotic use in nursing homes twice European rate

Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

NURSING home residents are being given too many antibiotics with one in 10 prescribed the medications, according to a new report.

Overuse of antibiotics is known to lead to resistance which means the drugs can no longer kill the bacteria they are meant to fight.

It can also lead to an increased risk of the C difficile bug which can be particularly dangerous for older people.

A survey of 5,922 residents in 108 long-term care facilities across the public and private sector -- including nursing homes and services for the intellectually disabled and psychiatric patients -- found the rate of antibiotic prescribing was twice the European average.

Healthcare infections in these homes are on the rise and 4.1pc were recorded compared with 3.6pc in a similar survey last year, the report from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre showed. The most common infections were respiratory conditions and urinary tract and skin infections, the report added.

Risk factors for infections include being incontinent, having impaired mobility, being disoriented and being over 85 years of age.

However, the report revealed how some were prescribed antibiotics for urinary tract infections even though only half had a specimen taken to confirm they had the illness.

The use of these antibiotics as a preventive measure should be examined on a case-by-case basis, it added.

This preventive use was a source of concern.

Irish Independent

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