Background: Overuse of antibiotics in the elderly population is contributing to the global health problem of antibiotic resistance. Hence, it is important to improve prescribing practices in care facilities for elderly residents. In nursing homes, urinary tract infection (UTI) is the most common reason for antibiotic prescription but inappropriate prescriptions are frequent. In order to reduce the use of antibiotics for suspected urinary tract infection in this context, a complex intervention based on education as well as tools for reflection and communication had been developed and trialed in a group of nursing homes. The presents study explored the barriers and enablers in implementing this complex intervention.
Methods: After the intervention trial period, a qualitative interview study was performed in six of the nursing homes that had received the intervention. The study included 12 informants: One senior manager, four nurses, six healthcare assistants, and one healthcare helper. Normalization Process Theory was used to structure the interviews as well as the analysis.
Results: The intervention was well received among the informants in terms of its purpose and content. The initial educational session had altered the informants' perceptions of UTI and of the need for adopting a different approach to suspected UTIs. Also, the study participants generally experienced that the intervention had positively impacted their practice. The most important barrier was that some of the interventions' clinical content was difficult to understand for the staff. This contributed to some problems with engaging all relevant staff in the intervention and with using the observation tool correctly in practice. Here, nurses played a key role in the implementation process by regularly explaining and discussing the intervention with other staff.
Conclusion: The results suggest that it is possible to implement more evidence-based practices concerning antibiotics use in nursing homes by employing a combination of educational activities and supportive tools directed at nursing home staff.
Keywords: Complex intervention; Implementation barriers; Implementation enablers; Nursing homes; Qualitative study; Urinary tract infection.
© 2022. The Author(s).