The overuse of antibiotics in nursing homes come from wrong drug dose, wrong duration or unnecessary use for the patient. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims overused antibiotics over time lose their effectiveness against infections. They were designed to treat. The CDC states antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly to ailing nursing home residents 75% of the time.

In the Journal News – USA Today, on October 18, 2015 published an article by Lisa Gillespie entitled “Nursing home residents face risks from antibiotics misuse”. The article points out that an antibiotic resistant infections threaten everyone but elderly people in nursing homes are especially at risk because their bodies don’t fight infections as well. The CDC counts 18 top antibiotic resistant infections that sicken more than 2 million people a year and kill 23,000 people.

The CDC states studies have estimated antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately 40% to 75% of the time in nursing homes. The CDC has launched a public education campaign for nursing homes aimed at preventing more bacterial and viral infection from starting and stopping other infections from spreading. A similar effect is being done for hospitals. The CDC worries that every time someone takes antibiotics sensitive bacteria are killed but resistant bacteria survive and multiply and can spread to other people. Repeated use of antibiotics promotes antibiotic resistant bacteria. Taking antibiotics for ailments, the drug weren’t made to treat, contributes to antibiotic resistance.

Antibiotics also wipe out the body’s good infection fighting bacteria along with the bad. When this occurs, such infections as Clostridium difficle can get out of control which leads to serious diarrhea that each yet puts 250,000 people in the hospital and kill 15,000 people. Healthcare facilities already have infection control procedures such as providing private rooms and toilets for infected individuals. The CDC is pushing the nursing homes to track how many and what antibiotics they prescribe monthly and what occurs to the patient including side effects. The CDC has also recommended putting someone in charge of antibiotic policies.

Victoria Walter, Chief Medical Officer of Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, a not for profit company that offers senior care services in many states, states “there is a real fear of under treatment and that is better to err on the safe side and that means treating with antibiotics but forgetting about all the harms. But giving away antibiotics can be just as harmful as not”. Doctors and nurses may go along because they don’t know either and it is easier to treat then not. David Nace, Director of Long Term Care at The University of Pittsburgh who contributed to the CDC guidelines states “practitioners are guilty of saying “it’s just an antibiotic … we don’t appreciate the real threat”.

In addition to creating antibiotic resistant bacteria and causing C-diff infections, antibiotics can produce allergic reactions and interfere with other drugs a nursing home resident is taking. Those risks aren’t always fully considered says Christopher Ernich, a hospital epidemiologist. “Bad antibiotics effects don’t come until weeks or months later”.
If you or a loved one confined to a nursing home, you must be proactive and question the liberal use of antibiotics when sick. If you or a love one has been over treated by antibiotics in a nursing home that leads to resisted infections or death, call the Office of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates at (914) 288-0800 or visit our website at

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