How do aged-care staff feel about antimicrobial stewardship? A systematic review of staff attitudes in long-term residential aged-care

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Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control


Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a problem in residential aged care facilities (RACF). There is a gap in our understanding of how psychosocial barriers such as risk perceptions shape staff attitudes towards antimicrobial stewardship (AMS). We sought to ascertain the attitudinal domains that have been identified to be of importance to AMS in RACF and comment on how they have been measured empirically. Our aim was to consolidate what is known regarding staff attitudes and perceptions in order to inform future stewardship. Method: We searched PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, CINAHL Plus, MEDLINE, PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane, and Scopus databases for primary studies of healthcare workers attitudes to AMS in RACF (1990-February 2021). Results: 14 Studies were included in the review, within which 10 domains were identified: attitudes towards antimicrobial prescribing; guidelines; educational interventions; self-confidence regarding clinical assessment and prescribing; awareness of AMR as a problem and stewardship as a priority; self-efficacy; perception of role; perception of risk; team culture and resident/family members expectations. 46 measures were developed across the 14 studies to measure the 10 domains. The variability in the attitudinal domains and how these domains were measured was large. Only 13% included psychometric data regarding reliability and/or internal consistency. Conclusions: Attitudes are generally defined as having three evaluative bases: cognitive, behavioural, and affective. Findings from the current review suggest that the measures commonly used to capture healthcare staff attitudes to AMS do not sufficiently capture affect; particularly with respect to staff’s risk perceptions, perceptions of their role, and family members’ expectations. Given that affective processes have been postulated to influence medical decision making, these findings highlight the importance of understanding how staff, especially nurses feel about implementing AMS strategies and other peoples’ (e.g. residents and their families) perceptions of stewardship. It is expected that a more nuanced understanding of RACF nurses affective experiences when applying AMS, and their perceptions of the risks entailed, will help in reducing barriers to overprescribing antibiotics.

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