Antibiotic resistance in healthcare institutions

Healthcare institutions like hospitals and nursing homes are a hotbed for resistant bacteria. And they can spread easily to other patients. That’s why there are strict rules on when antibiotics may be prescribed and how patients should be nursed. The government and health authorities have set extra goals to further reduce the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Antibiotic resistance is a health threat

Healthcare institutions like hospitals and nursing homes are a hotbed for resistant bacteria because so many patients are on antibiotics. Nurses and other people working with patients need to practise good hygiene to prevent bacteria from being transmitted from one patient to another. Good hygiene also prevents infections generally, so that doctors do not always need to prescribe antibiotics. A superbug infection can have serious consequences for people who are frail or in poor health.

Medical guidelines to prevent antibiotic resistance

The following guidelines apply in the healthcare sector:

  • Antibiotics can only be prescribed by a doctor.
  • Doctors must comply with strict guidelines when prescribing antibiotics.
  • Staff in healthcare institutions must comply with strict rules on hygiene, so that resistant bacteria cannot be transmitted from one patient to another.
  • In hospital wards and nursing homes, patients carrying a multidrug-resistant bug are isolated and nursing staff have to adopt strict hygiene measures.

The Health Care Inspectorate monitors compliance with the guidelines.

Healthcare targets for multidrug-resistant bacteria

The government and healthcare services are working together to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Between now and 2019 they will work to:

  • halve the number of cases in which multidrug-resistant bacteria are transmitted during care;
  • reduce incorrect antibiotic prescriptions by at least 50%;
  • slow the development and transmission of multidrug-resistant bacteria in healthcare institutions;
  • increase international cooperation on halting the development and spread of antibiotic resistance;
  • stabilise or reduce the number of people infected or killed by multidrug-resistant bacteria in the Netherlands;
  • ensure several options remain for treating patients infected by multidrug-resistant bacteria.