Evidence of a care home effect on antibiotic prescribing for those that transition into a care home: A national data linkage study

L. Patterson*, A. Maguire, C. Cardwell, F. Kee, C. Hughes, L. Geoghegan, L. Doherty, M. Dolan, N. Q. Verlander, D. O’Reilly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


We compared antibiotic prescribing to older people in different settings to inform antibiotic stewardship interventions. We used data linkage to stratify individuals aged 65 years and over in Northern Ireland, 1st January 2012–31st December 2013, by residence: community dwelling, care home dwelling or ‘transitioned’ if admitted to a care home. The odds of being prescribed an antibiotic by residence were analysed using logistic regression, adjusting for patient demographics and selected medication use (proxy for co-morbidities). Trends in monthly antibiotic prescribing were examined in the 6 months pre- and post-admission to the care home. The odds of being prescribed at least one antibiotic were twofold higher in care homes compared with community dwellers (adjusted odds ratio 2.05, 95% CI 1.93–2.17). There was a proportionate increase of 51.5% in the percentage prescribed an antibiotic on admission, with a monthly average of 23% receiving an antibiotic in the 6 months post admission. While clinical need likely accounts for some of the observed antibiotic prescribing in care homes we cannot rule out more liberal prescribing, given the twofold difference between care home residents and their community dwelling peers having accounted for co-morbidities. The appropriateness of antibiotic prescribing in the care home setting should be examined.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere115
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. The authors would like to acknowledge the help provided by the staff of the Honest Broker Service (HBS) within the Business Services Organisation (BSO) Northern Ireland. The HBS is funded by the BSO and the Department of Health for Northern Ireland. The authors alone are responsible for the interpretation of the data and any views or opinions presented are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the BSO. We also thank Dr Sam Bracebridge, Field Epidemiology Training Programme Director at Public Health England, for advising on the epidemiological study and commenting on the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • Analysis of data
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Antibiotics
  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious disease epidemiology


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