To explore the facilitators and obstacles to the development and implementation of the Reduce Antimicrobial Prescribing in Care Homes intervention.
We used a mixed-methods approach. We conducted focus groups with care home staff and relatives of residents, and interviews with general practitioners (GPs) and home managers, completed observational visits and collected demographic data, training attendance records and data on the use of a decision-making algorithm. We used normalisation process theory to inform topic guides and interpretation of the data.
Six care homes, three in Northern Ireland and three in the West Midlands, England.
A decision-making algorithm for urinary tract, respiratory tract and skin and soft-tissue infections, plus small group interactive training for care home staff.
We ran 21 training sessions across the six homes and trained 35/42 (83%) of nurses and 101/219 (46%) of all care staff. Care home staff reported using the decision-making algorithm 81 times. Postimplementation, staff reported being more knowledgeable about antimicrobial resistance but were unsure if the intervention would change how GPs prescribed antimicrobials. The pressures of everyday work in some homes meant that engagement was challenging at times. Staff felt that some of the symptoms included in decision-making algorithm, despite being evidence based, were not easy to detect in residents with dementia or urinary incontinence. Some staff did not use the decision-making algorithm, noting that their own knowledge of the resident was more important.
We delivered a training package to a substantial number of key staff in care homes. A decision-making algorithm for common infections in care homes empowered staff but was challenging to operationalise at times. A future study should consider the findings from the process evaluation to help ensure the successful implementation on a larger scale.