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Title: Optimizing treatment of respiratory tract infections in nursing homes: nurse-initiated polymerase chain reaction testing.
Author: Dowson, Leslie
Marshall, Caroline
Buising, Kirsty
Friedman, Deborah
Kong, David C. M.
Stuart, Rhonda
Issue Date: 2019
Publication Title: Amercian Journal of Infection Control
Volume: 47
Issue: 8
Start Page: 911
End Page: 915
Abstract: Background Diagnostic testing using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is infrequently initiated for diagnosis of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in nursing homes. The objectives of this study were to determine the feasibility of implementing nurse-initiated PCR testing of respiratory specimens in nursing home settings and to compare antibiotic prescribing prior to and during the implementation. Methods This was a pragmatic, historically controlled study in 3 nursing homes (181 total beds) in Melbourne, Australia. Results The number of PCR tests of respiratory specimens (over 12 months) increased from 5 to 67 when nurses could initiate the tests. Residents with RTI symptoms had a virus identified by PCR in 50.7% of tests, including 14 positive for influenza. Six outbreaks were identified. When clustering was taken into consideration, incidence rates of antibiotic days of therapy did not change (incidence rate ratio = 0.94, 95% confidence interval, 0.25-3.35, P = .92) despite identification of more viral pathogens. Conclusions In nursing homes, nurse-initiated PCR testing of respiratory specimens is feasible and useful in terms of identifying the cause of many RTIs and outbreaks, and viruses are common in this context. However, the current study suggests the availability of these test results alone does not impact antibiotic prescribing.
Internal ID Number: 01382
Health Subject: NURSING HOME
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Research Output

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