CDC Releases New Antibiotic Stewardship Core Elements Guide for Small and Critical Access Hospitals

By on 4:10 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a new resource for small and critical access hospitals (CAHs) on antibiotic stewardship.

The resource, titled "Implementation of Antimicrobial Stewardship Core Elements at Small and Critical Access Hospitals," is designed to provide guidance on practical strategies to implement antibiotic stewardship programs in these organizations. 

The core elements are categorized as follows:
  • Leadership Commitment/Accountability
  • Drug Expertise
  • Action
  • Tracking
  • Reporting
  • Education

As the CDC notes, antibiotic use has unintended consequences, including Clostridium difficile and other adverse events, with C. diff infections affecting more than 500,000 patients and are associated with more than 15,000 deaths in the United States each year.  Antibiotic use is a contributor to the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance in the United States.  Programs focused on improving antibiotic use or antibiotic stewardship programs have proven to be effective in mitigating these and other threats.

While CDC notes that small and CAHs likely face challenges in implementing the core elements, due to limitations in staffing, infrastructure and resources, antibiotic stewardship is no less important: "Patients in small and CAHs have not been spared the problems of antibiotic resistance and C. diff. However, small and critical access hospitals also have some factors that can support improvements in care, as they are often tight-knit communities where collaboration is the norm."

The resource uses the "CDC Core Elements of Hospital Antibiotic Stewardship Programs" as a framework for initiating and/or expanding antibiotic stewardship activities. It was developed as a collaboration between CDC, The American Hospital Association, The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The resource is the fourth addition to the "Core Elements" series that provides recommendations for antibiotic stewardship programs and practices in hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient facilities.

Download a PDF version of "Implementation of Antimicrobial Stewardship Core Elements at Small and Critical Access Hospitals" by clicking here.

Note: Organizations looking for assistance with developing antimicrobial stewardship programs can contact Infection Control Consulting Services (ICCS) by clicking here. ICCS assists facilities across the spectrum of care with the development of such programs in accordance with guidelines, standards and regulatory requirements.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.