The 2016 Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (acNAPS) confirmed the results of the 2015 pilot survey, which identified documentation, duration of prescriptions and widespread use of topical antimicrobials as areas for improvement regarding infections and antimicrobial use in Australian aged care homes.

In 2016 251 aged care homes participated in the survey; audits of records related to antimicrobial use and infections were completed for 13,447 permanent, respite or transitional care residents. Almost 10% of residents surveyed were prescribed at least one antimicrobial (including topical antimicrobials).

The 2016 acNAPS survey identified a number of issues of particular concern:

  • A high rate of use of antimicrobials for unconfirmed infections: almost one-third (32.4%) of antimicrobials were prescribed for residents with no signs or symptoms of infection in the week prior to the antimicrobial start date
  • Prescriptions did not meet the criteria for an infection: just over two-thirds (67.2%) of prescriptions were for residents who did not have signs or symptoms of infection
  • Duration of prescriptions: almost one-quarter (23%) of antimicrobials had been administered for longer than six months
  • Widespread use of topical antimicrobials: just over one-quarter (26.9%) of prescriptions; most minor skin infections are self-limiting and resolve without the use of an antibiotic with standard skin hygiene care, and if an antibiotic is required, topical antibiotics are only appropriate for patients with minor, localised areas of impetigo
  • Incomplete documentation: the antimicrobial start date was unknown for 3.2% of antimicrobials administered, while the indication for the antimicrobial was not documented for 22.1% of antimicrobials administered, and the review or stop date was not documented for 49.9% of antimicrobials administered.

For more information read the full report: Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey 2016


Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey reports

Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey 2016 

Antimicrobial prescribing and infections in Australian residential aged care facilities: Results of the 2015 Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey pilot