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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2007 Jul;30(1):25-9. Epub 2007 May 11.

The missing care bundle: antibiotic prescribing in hospitals.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, Imperial College, Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS, UK.


The care bundle involves grouping together key elements of care for procedures and the management of specific diagnoses in order to provide a systematic method to improve and monitor the delivery of clinical care processes. In short, care bundles aim to ensure that all patients consistently receive the best care or treatment, all of the time. This approach has been successfully applied to the management of various conditions, particularly in the critical care setting. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement's '100K lives campaign' consisted of six care bundles, three of which have addressed preventing hospital-acquired infection. The UK Department of Health's delivery programme to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs), including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), includes six 'high-impact interventions', which are care bundles to reduce HCAIs. However, we suggest that one key intervention is missing, and consider this intervention will be increasingly important if hospitals are to address the rising incidence of Clostridium difficile, to tackle antibiotic resistance and to improve patient care. The missing intervention addresses the process of antibiotic prescribing. We propose that the time is right to consider the application of the care bundle approach to improve the prescribing of antibiotics, both for treatment and prophylaxis.

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