(HealthDay News) — New research finds that children who are hospitalized get discharged sooner and come back less often when hospitals take extra efforts to control treatment utilizing antibiotics. The research is being presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDWeek), held from October 8–12 in Philadelphia.
The study findings are based on statistics over five years at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. For 17% of 7,000 children, the hospital recommended changes to the use of prescription antibiotics. They could be discontinued, have the dose changed, or be switched to another medication; it was up to the physician to figure out whether to make any adjustment.
The researchers found that when doctors followed the recommendations, children without complex chronic health issues stayed in the hospital for shorter periods (an average of 68 hours vs. 82 hours), and the children were less likely to be readmitted.
“Studies have shown stewardship programs reduce antibiotic use and decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance, but this is the first to demonstrate that these programs actually reduce length-of-stay and readmission in children,” Jason Newland, MD, study lead author and medical director of patient safety and systems reliability at Children’s Mercy Hospital, said in a Society news release. “These findings reinforce the health benefits of antibiotic stewardship programs for some of our most vulnerable patients. It’s clear that more hospitals should invest their resources in implementing such programs.”