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Antibiotic prescribing practice in residential aged care facilities – health care providers’ perspectives


Widespread and inappropriate antibiotic use in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) has been widely reported.14 This is especially concerning given emerging evidence of antibiotic resistance in RACFs.5 Further, older people are particularly susceptible to the adverse consequences of antibiotic use, including Clostridium difficile infection.6 Thus, efforts to optimise antibiotic prescribing in this population are warranted.

Existing strategies to improve antibiotic use have largely focused on the acute care setting;7 however, different approaches are needed in the RACF setting due to differences in antibiotic prescribing behaviour and organisational resources. Several studies have proposed various factors leading to the widespread prescribing of antibiotics in RACFs, including difficulty in establishing clinical diagnosis of infection and lack of onsite diagnostic facilities.1,8,9 These, however, were based primarily on anecdotal presumption rather than the individual experience of relevant health care providers.

There may be unique challenges to improving antibiotic use in RACFs;…