The overuse of antibiotics has created a real problem in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, antibiotics are among the medications most often prescribed in nursing homes, with up to 70 percent of residents receiving at least one course of antibiotics each year. This is a problem because nursing home residents can build up a resistance to prescription antibiotics if they are administered too often, thus negating them as a treatment option.

Christian Health Care Center is working to fix that. We’ve begun an antibiotic stewardship program, in concert with recommendations put forth by the CDC. We have made a commitment to providing skilled nursing care with compassion and love, and that means doing the best we can to limit the unnecessary use of antibiotics.

“Antibiotic resistance has been a significant problem for healthcare facilities around the world in recent years,” says Heather Lewis, CHCC’s director of nursing. “And the problem has been getting worse. We’re working with our medical director, consultant pharmacist and the local and state health department to take steps that will fix that.”

Here’s what Christian Health Care Center is doing:

  • CHCC is a participating facility in the EQuIP program, a joint partnership of Qualis Health, the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Hospital Association, and local chapters of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control.
  • CHCC participates in a Small Group Collaborative project with facilities from Washington and Idaho being led by Dr. Marisa D’Angeli from Washington’s Department of Health.

What this looks like:

  • Promoting a culture of optimal antibiotic use by educating staff, physicians, residents and families.
  • Ensuring timely and appropriate start of antibiotic treatments.
  • Ensuring appropriate administration of antibiotic therapy and narrowing the antibiotics used to specifically target the present pathogen.
  • Monitoring for program effectiveness, evaluation and associated resident outcomes.
  • Promoting a culture of transparency, reporting and open communication

As noted above, there are several benefits to participation in programs that increase the stewardship of antibiotics in facilities like Christian Health Care Center. First, it decreases the side effects of antibiotic use, such as intestinal infections. Second, it reduces potential development of resistant infections. Third, it can help in preserving the therapeutic effectiveness of the antibiotic medications that CHCC currently uses. Fourth, antibiotic stewardship can decrease medication cost.

All of this is part of our commitment to stay on the cutting edge of healthcare trends so we can provide the best health care possible to every one of the residents and patients at our Lynden health care campus. If you have any questions, please contact Heather Lewis, our director of nursing.