FROM JOURNAL OF THE PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY

Nearly one-third of hospital newborn nurseries and neonatal ICUs do not have an antibiotic stewardship program, according to a survey of 146 hospital nursery centers across all 50 states.

Researchers randomly selected a level III NICU in each state using the 2014 American Hospital Association annual survey, then selected a level I and level II nursery in the same city. They collected data on the hospital, nursery, and antibiotic stewardship program characteristics and interviewed staff pharmacists and infectious diseases physicians (J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2016 Jul 15. doi: 10.1093/jpids/piw040).

A total of 104 (71%) of responding hospitals had an antibiotic stewardship program in place for their nurseries. Hospitals with a nursery-based antibiotic stewardship programs tended to be larger, have more full-time equivalent staff dedicated to the antibiotic stewardship program, have higher level nurses, and be affiliated with a university, according to Joseph B. Cantey, MD , and his colleagues from the Texas A&M Health Science Center in Temple.

Geographic region and core stewardship strategies did not influence the likelihood of a nursery-based antibiotic stewardship program in place.

From the interviews, the researchers identified several barriers to implementation of antibiotic stewardship programs, and themes such as unwanted coverage, unnecessary coverage, and need for communication.

“Many [antibiotic stewardship program] and nursery representatives stated that nursery [antibiotic stewardship program] coverage was not important, either because antibiotic consumption was perceived as low (theme 1), narrow-spectrum (theme 2), or both,” the authors wrote.

Some nursery providers also argued that participating in stewardship programs was time consuming and not valuable, which the authors said was often related to a lack of pediatric expertise in the program providers. Some of those interviewed also spoke of issues relating to jurisdiction and responsibility for the programs, and there was also a common perception that antibiotic stewardship programs were more concerned with cost savings than patient care.

“Barriers to effective nursery stewardship are exacerbated by lack of communication between stewardship providers and their nursery counterparts,” the authors reported.

No conflicts of interest were declared.

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