Canadians expect guidance on superbug threat

January / February 2018   Comments

Late last year, CNA released survey data showing that 93 per cent of Canadians are concerned about the rising threat of antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Nearly 60 per cent consider superbugs to be a major problem for Canada’s health-care system, and almost all (96 per cent) support having nurses provide guidance and education on antibiotic use.

Superbugs can arise through the misuse of antibiotics and can cause infections that require stronger medicines for longer periods of time. Because these medications often bring more severe side-effects or require longer hospitalizations, they can negatively affect health and increase health-care costs. Around the world, superbugs are emerging that can no longer be treated by current medications.

To address this threat, CNA and other national groups are urging the federal government to take action on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

“Superbugs are becoming one of the most challenging health issues of our time,” said CNA president Barb Shellian. “We need all health-care providers to be ready to face it together. Any delay puts the patients, families and communities we care for at risk.”

Nurses across Canada are well placed to help minimize the need for antimicrobials by preventing infections through a variety of mechanisms, including immunization and infection prevention and control programs, and to prevent AMR through low-cost, high-impact stewardship activities. This means having a cost-effective, interprofessional approach to antimicrobial stewardship that includes input from patients.

CNA continues to advance antimicrobial stewardship on several fronts. Among them is a new Choosing Wisely Canada nursing list, developed with Infection Prevention and Control Canada, called Seven Things Nurses and Patients Should Question. These new recommendations address tests, treatments and procedures that can unnecessarily contribute to the development of infections and the overuse of antibiotics and/or AMR.

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