New research led by Boots UK has outlined how community pharmacists can help can support residents and care homes in the appropriate and effective use of antibiotics.
The research published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy revealed that half of care home residents in the UK were prescribed with at least one antibiotic over a 12-month period.
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots UK, said: “This research highlights that there is a real opportunity for community pharmacy to play an even greater role in supporting the safe and effective use of medicines, and continue to support the implementation and delivery of the government’s five-year action plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).”
The UK government has set a target of reducing the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics by 50%, with the aim of being a world leader in reducing prescribing by 2020, in order to stem the spread of AMR, which could prevent the treatment of common bacterial infections.
Researchers believe that moves to raise the clinical role of pharmacists in care homes provides an opportunity to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use through a number of actions, including self-care (through homely remedy policies), helping carers to identify and deal with early signs of deterioration and, when antibiotics are prescribed, whether they are appropriate along with advice to support them being used effectively.
The research also identified an opportunity for community pharmacy teams to work more closely with carers within care homes in infection prevention measures such as flu vaccinations and encouraging adequate hydration to prevent UTIs, which are more common in these vulnerable adults.