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Antimicrobial Stewardship and Wound Care: What’s the Connection

Jennifer Hurlow, GNP-BC, CWCN

Centuries ago, science took a back seat to superstition. Infectious diseases were seen as a sign of supernatural powers or the wrath of God. We now know that it was smallpox that led to the downfall of the Aztecs. We also know that bubonic plague was not a divine punishment, but it was caused by bacteria transmitted by fleas on rodents traveling on trading ships.

With the development of antimicrobials and vaccines, such diseases rapidly disappeared. However, the excessive misuse of antimicrobial drugs as a result of a lack of or inadequate diagnostic testing, as well as misuse of antibiotics in agriculture, led to a resurgence of disease and the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Approximately 700,000 people die annually of drug-resistant infections. Antimicrobial stewardship seeks to combat this rising problem, but because infection is a common complication in health care—and especially in wound care—implementation of antimicrobial stewardship programs has been challenging. In wound care, the most common reasons that we misuse antibiotics are fear of a bad outcome, patient demands, and uncertainty about when antibiotics are required. Clearly, none of these reasons qualify as prudent antibiotic usage, yet sometimes it’s hard to know why a wound isn’t healing and when systemic antibiotics are required.

Advances in antimicrobial stewardship include improved scientific understanding, alternative therapies, and technological tools that can assist in achieving goals within an antimicrobial stewardship program. Applying the principles of antimicrobial stewardship in wound care can help reduce unnecessary use of topical and systemic antibiotic therapies. This approach ensures a safer and more effective plan of care for patients with infected wounds.

Explore Further

I’d like to invite you to my presentation, “Antimicrobial Stewardship and Wound Care: What’s the Connection,” at WoundCon Fall on November 12th at 2:30 PM Eastern Standard Time. I will be discussing some of the factors to consider when contemplating the most effective use of antibiotics in our patients with wounds. I sincerely hope you will join me. Registration for WoundCon Fall 2021 is open now and is free for health care professionals, who can earn CME credits by attending.

Register for free at 

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.