Evaluating an antimicrobial stewardship programme implemented in an intensive care unit of a large academic hospital, using the RE-AIM framework

B E Nkosi, S Sibanda


Background. The threat of antimicrobial resistance driven by inappropriate and unnecessary use of antimicrobials is a global issue of great concern. Evidence-based approaches to optimising antimicrobial prescribing to improve patient care while reducing the rate of antimicrobial resistance continue to be implemented worldwide. However, the successes or failures of implementation of such approaches are seldom evaluated.

Objectives. To evaluate the impact of an implemented antimicrobial stewardship programme (ASP) in reducing the spread of antimicrobial resistance in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a large academic hospital using the RE-AIM framework.

Methods. A descriptive quasi-experimental study was conducted with adult patients who had been admitted to the ICU of an academic hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. Data were extracted from patients’ records using a structured questionnaire. Descriptive statistics of four RE-AIM dimensions (reach, effectiveness, adoption and implementation) and the overall impact of the implemented antimicrobial stewardship programme were calculated.

Results. From the 59 participant records, 21 patients (35.6%) developed hospital-acquired infections and all were prescribed antimicrobials during their stay in the ICU. Twenty-seven pathogens (bacterial species) were isolated from samples acquired from the patients, including Staphylococcus aureus (n=6; 22.2%), Escherichia coli (n=4; 14.8%), Acinetobacter baumannii (n=4; 14.8%) and Streptococcus pnuemoniae (n=3; 11.11%), as well as 10 other bacterial species (37.0%) including Corynebacterium species, Enterococcus faecium, Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella species, Clostridium difficile and Salmonella species. Of the 27 pathogens isolated, 19 (70.4 %) were resistant to the prescribed antimicrobials. The overall impact of the ASP implemented in the studied facility was 67.2%.

Conclusions. An ASP requires both thorough implementation and leadership support to have an impact in the reduction of antimicrobial resistance. Lack of leadership support poses a significant challenge to sustainability. There is an urgent need for behavioural change in hospital leadership.

Authors' affiliations

B E Nkosi, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

S Sibanda, Department of Health Studies, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa; School of Applied Social Studies, University of Bedfordshire, Luton, UK

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Antimicrobial; Resistance; Antimicrobial stewardship; Antimicrobial resistance; Healthcare-associated infections; Implementation; RE-AIM framework; Health programme

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(8):777-782. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i8.15363

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-08-02
Date published: 2021-08-02

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