Background and objective: Antimicrobial stewardship programs (ASPs) are a mechanism to ensure the appropriate use of antimicrobials. The extent to which ASPs are formally implemented in freestanding children's hospitals is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of ASPs in freestanding children's hospitals.
Methods: We conducted an electronic survey of 42 freestanding children's hospitals that are members of the Children's Hospital Association to determine the presence and characteristics of their ASPs. For hospitals without an ASP, we determined whether stewardship strategies were in place and whether there were barriers to implementing a formal ASP.
Results: We received responses from 38 (91%) of 42. Among responding institutions, 16 (38%) had a formal ASP, and 15 (36%) were in the process of implementing a program. Most ASPs (13 [81%] of 16) were started after 2007. The median number of full-time equivalents dedicated to ASPs was 0.63 (range, 0.1-1.8). The most common antimicrobials monitored by ASPs were linezolid, vancomycin, and carbapenems. Many hospitals without a formal ASP were performing stewardship activities, including elements of prospective audit and feedback (9 [41%] of 22), formulary restriction (9 [41%] of 22), and use of clinical guidelines (17 [77%] of 22). Antimicrobial outcomes were more likely to be monitored by hospitals with ASPs (100% vs 68%; P = .01), although only 1 program provided support for a data analyst.
Conclusions: Most freestanding children's hospitals have implemented or are developing an ASP. These programs differ in structure and function, and more data are needed to identify program characteristics that have the greatest impact.