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Tackling Antimicrobial Resistance in Elderly Care

Publication date: 14 November 2017
Modificationdate: 16 November 2017

This week brings worldwide attention to antimicrobial resistance. More and more bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. For example, a "common" infection such as bladder infection is more difficult to treat and tablets no longer suffice. This is a problem, especially for vulnerable people such as elderly people in nursing homes. To reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, various activities are being initiated in the Netherlands for elderly care, for example a campaign for professionals and research into resistant bacteria in nursing homes. In addition, 700 professionals gather today for a symposium on this subject

The programme "Antibiotic Resistance in Nursing Homes" focuses on hygiene and responsible prescribing of antibiotics in nursing homes. It is conducted by Vilans, the Dutch Centre of Expertise for Long-Term Care, in cooperation with various parties in elderly care, and commissioned by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. On the website www.resistentiepreventie.nl, professionals in nursing homes are called upon to sign a petition pledging to tackle antimicrobial resistance.

Research nursing homes

To combat antimicrobial resistance effectively, it is important to understand how often resistant bacteria occur. To map this data, RIVM will conduct a national survey of residents of 300 nursing homes in 2018. To this end, RIVM will cooperate with regional healthcare networks, nursing homes and medical microbiological laboratories.

Fight against antimicrobial resistance

In the Netherlands, the fight against antimicrobial resistance focuses on several pillars: preventing infections, responsible handling of antibiotics, preventing the spread of resistant bacteria, and innovations. The Dutch approach to antibiotic resistance addresses all domains where human health is threatened by antimicrobial resistant bacteria; healthcare, animals, food and environment. We refer to this integrated approach as the One Health approach.

Global attention

The WHO has called World Antibiotics Awareness Week (13-19 November 2017) to raise awareness for the need to act on antimicrobial resistance and responsible use of antibiotics. Coinciding with this week, the 10th European Antibiotic Awareness Day is held on November 18th, an initiative of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

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