Restricted antimicrobial use at transitions of care at an Australian hospital

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, 2011, 41 (4), pp. 283 - 287
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Background: The emergence of antimicrobial resistance reinforces the need for antimicrobial stewardship to promote the appropriate and judicious use of antimicrobials. Aim: To quantify restricted antimicrobial use among intensive care unit (ICU) discharges to general wards, and to review appropriateness of antimicrobial use. Method: A prospective clinical audit was conducted over a 2- week period. Medical records for ICU discharges were reviewed, with relevant data extracted (patient characteristics, antimicrobial therapy prescribed, treatment instructions). Appropriateness of restricted antimicrobials used was gauged in accordance with hospital policies and the Therapeutic Guidelines: Antibiotic. Results: 98 patients were discharged from the ICU - 74 (76%) discharged to general wards were on antimicrobials, 15 discharged to general wards were not on antimicrobials and 9 discharged out of the hospital. Of these 74 patients, 31 (42%) were prescribed a total of 57 restricted antimicrobials; only 11 of these 31 (36%) patients had documented approval (from microbiology/infectious diseases teams) for use of restricted antimicrobials. 46 restricted antimicrobials (n = 57; 81%) were deemed clinically appropriate and the remaining 11 were prescribed outside guideline-recommended indications. Conclusion: While most restricted antimicrobials were prescribed according to national guidelines, in only one-third of patients were the restricted antimicrobials 'approved' for use according to hospital policies. Better clinical documentation on treatment plans and review processes for restricted antimicrobial use is needed during the transition from ICU to general wards.
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