December 13, 2019
Best Practices For Combatting Superbugs

Ready to take on seasonal cold and flu in winter ’20?

SpecialtyRx says the symptomatic treatment is best

As we set sail through the holiday season, it’s important to protect residents from serious superbugs known to occur during cold winter months. The term ‘superbug’ describes any bacterial infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics. In some cases, strains have grown so ‘smart’, they are resistant to all known treatments.

Not only are superbugs deadly in general, they are also particularly dangerous to the 65+ set, making the issue critical for SNFs. As we enter the month of December, devise a dedicated prevention plan, and be sure to educate staff, residents and visiting family members about your infection control guidelines.

Protecting against pandemic

There are plenty of practical strategies you can implement in your facility to ensure safety of residents and staff. Start by identifying the easiest, most impactful methods for preventing the spread of superbugs including hand hygiene, aseptic technique, thorough disinfection and programs for patient awareness.

Beyond these everyday measures, antibiotic stewardship should also be at the forefront of your facility’s practice. Experts in the field point to the CDC’s latest published findings, which indicate that over half of all prescribed antibiotics are unnecessary.

“Decreasing the use of antibiotics is a vital patient safety and public health issue and should be a national priority,” says Jennifer Leatherbarrow, RN, BSN. “Oſten, antibiotics are prescribed for colds, coughs and sore throats that need only symptomatic treatment and time to run their course. Physicians must change their antibiotic prescribing practices and encourage symptomatic treatments whenever possible.”

As staff monitor residents’ health and wellness this winter season, it’s important to take all potential threats seriously. Operators must also avoid contributing to the superbug problem—one that could easily evolve into a greater global pandemic if antibiotic stewardship programs are not strictly observed.