New Course

Antimicrobial Stewardship in Aged Care

Antimicrobial Stewardship includes the range of activities that promote and support the correct prescription and use of antimicrobials. You can improve the lives of people in aged care by reducing the inappropriate use of antimicrobials and reducing antimicrobial resistance.

Imagine someone in your care has woken up with a runny nose and you think to yourself, “they need antibiotics to beat this.” The consumer is sick for a while, so you keep prescribing them antibiotics in order to get on top of it. You think that you might be overprescribing, but you tell yourself it’s more important to treat the person who is sick, and that it can’t do them any harm in the meantime.

Well, while you might think that the antibiotics they don’t need won’t do them any harm, what it will do is expose the bacteria in their body to that medicine. That bacteria will then gradually change over time to develop a resistance to that medicine. This means that next time that your client is actually sick, antibiotics won’t be as effective because the bugs in their body have developed a resistance to it. That resistance is called antimicrobial resistance and it is very dangerous to elderly people in aged care. Older people with antimicrobial-resistant infections are more likely to experience recurring infections, longer recovery periods, and in some cases, even death.

Antimicrobial resistance occurs naturally as part of the evolution of microbes. However, the inappropriate prescription or overuse of antimicrobials has been linked to the increase and acceleration of antimicrobial resistance. Microbes are adapting faster because of the overuse of certain drugs. Bacteria that cause common infections in older people are becoming more resistant to antibiotics. Antimicrobial stewardship is an approach that encourages the appropriate use of antimicrobials to reduce the risk of, or the severity of, infections in patients and to reduce the occurrence of deaths due to antimicrobial resistance.

It’s important that all staff in your organisation understand the importance of antimicrobial stewardship, and know-how to establish and sustain an antimicrobial stewardship program in your organisation, most notably Infection Control Managers, Registered Nurses, Enrolled Nurse and Clinical Managers. Antimicrobial stewardship programs improve the health outcomes for older people in care or receiving care.

Learning objectives

This course focuses on the following learning objectives:

  • how to define antimicrobial resistance and antimicrobial stewardship
  • the importance of antimicrobial stewardship in aged care
  • where to find up-to-date evidence-based resources, and
  • the key steps involved in establishing and sustaining an antimicrobial stewardship program.


This course features:

  • activities and information promoting behavioural change
  • engaging animations and rich imagery
  • additional resources, including blank templates for managers and supervisors to use in your organisation, and
  • rigorous assessments.

This course has been reviewed by Melissa Sinfield, a recognised subject matter expert in this space.

Antimicrobial Stewardship in Aged Care

  • Unit ID: 33237
  • Duration: 50 minutes
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