Antimicrobial Stewardship - What Can I Do?

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What Can I Do?

1) For Patients, Their Families, and the General Public

2) For Health Care Professionals

3) For Policy Makers and Administrators

For Patients, Their Families, and the General Public

Hand Washing

 1) Wash your hands regularly.

Hand hygiene is the most important way to prevent the spread of germs (e.g., viruses and bacteria).

By washing your hands properly, you can prevent approximately 30% of diarrhea-associated illnesses and 20% of respiratory illnesses.

You should wash your hands...

  • After using the washroom
  • After coughing into your hands or blowing your nose
  • Before and after eating
  • When visiting patients in the hospital
  • After touching raw meat, poultry and fish
  • After touching animals, animal toys, or waste
  • After handling garbage

2) Understand that antibiotics are not effective for viral infections.

Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections. (Click here for more information.)

Your body is able to eliminate most viral infections, like the common cold and flu, on its own. Taking antibiotics doesn't relieve symptoms of a viral infection and may actually cause harm due to possible side effects and toxicity.

If you have a viral infection, your doctor will not prescribe you an antibiotic, because it is not effective. Please do not pressure your doctor to prescribe you an unnecessary antibiotic treatment.

Instead, here are some suggestions for treating symptoms of a viral illness:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Rest as much as possible
  • Take appropriate over-the-counter medication, after consulting a health care provider:
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol ®) for fever and aches
    • Ibuprofen (Advil ®) for fever and aches
    • DM cough syrup (Benylin ®) and lozenge (cough candy) for a sore throat
    • Nasal Spray (Salinex ®) for nasal stuffiness
  • Wash your hands regularly to prevent spreading the virus

Return to your doctor if a high fever develops, or your symptoms change or worsen significantly.

For Health Care Professionals

1) Prescribers 

Due to your wealth of medical knowledge, patients respect you and your decisions. To achieve the best patient outcomes, please consider these questions before prescribing antimicrobials:

    1. Is there an indication to use antimicrobials?
    2. Is this the right type of antimicrobial? (Or, for example, could a more narrow-spectrum antibiotic be prescribed?)
    3. Is this the right dose?
    4. Is this the right duration?
    5. Is this the right route of administration? (Can the patient take antibiotics orally, rather than throughi.v.?)

Most patients do not have a medical background and require explanation from you and other healthcare professionals to fully understand their condition. Others may come in with a strong belief on a certain diagnosis, or an expectation for antibiotics. In either case, your explanation is the most reliable information they will receive, so please take the time to fully educate the patient about their condition. For useful educational resources to aid in your explanation: click here

2) Pharmacists and Nurses

You are most often the last healthcare professional patients encounter before taking their medications. Please take the time to review antimicrobial prescriptions, using these questions:

    1. Is this the right type of antimicrobial, considering the diagnosis?
    2. Is this the right dose?
    3. Is this the right duration?
    4. Is this the right route of administration? (Can the patient take antibiotics orally, rather than i.v.?)

Because you are the frontline of healthcare, patients find you approachable and comfortable to consult. Please take the time to go over the following information for all antimicrobial prescriptions to enhance patient adherence and understanding of the antibiotic treatment:

  • Method of administration (duration of therapy, route of administration)
  • Possible side effects
  • Course of action when one experiences severe side effects

(Click here for patient education resources for health care professionals.)

Antimicrobial stewardship is a collaborative effort, in which pharmacists and nurses have a vital role. They bring additional perspective and foster the acceptance of antimicrobial stewardship principles. The following articles outline the unique roles of pharmacists and nurses:

For Administrators

Antibiotic resistance is a global issue that must be met with co-ordinated antimicrobial stewardship efforts by everyone.  While it is important for those of us working in human medicine to use our antibiotic resources wisely, the same is also true in both industry and agriculture.  Such a massive effort requires information, incentives and innovation from governments (federal and regional) to promote antimicrobial stewardship practices and research into the development of new antimicrobials.

For health care administrators and policy makers, there are many different types of stewardship interventions available and it is up to each facility to decide upon the most effective methods, taking their patient population, budget and resources into consideration.

Some of the widely used antimicrobial stewardship strategies include:

Please click here for more resources for administrators.

Contact Us

Email our team at Antimicrobial.Stewardship@rqhealth.ca

Phone us at 306-766-3520

We are located at:

Regina General Hospital
4B32, 1440 14th Ave
Regina, SK S4P 0W5

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