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Antimicrobials Awareness Week (18 – 24 Nov)

Friday 20 November 2020

 Antimicrobials Awareness Week (18 – 24 Nov)

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranks Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) among the top 10 global public health threats today leading to longer hospital stays, higher medical costs and increased mortality.

The WHO therefore urges all healthcare workers to ‘unite to preserve antimicrobials’ to optimise antimicrobial use among hospital patients.

Antimicrobials underpin modern healthcare and cannot be taken for granted.

Unnecessary use and misuse of antimicrobials, including antibiotics, is contributing to a rise in resistant microbes, making infections increasingly difficult to treat.

Antimicrobial stewardship is a shared responsibility of all healthcare workers in order to improve patient outcomes. It works hand-in-hand with infection prevention and control strategies to help address antimicrobial resistance.

Everyone has a role to play to preserve the use of these life-saving medicines for future generations.

Please take the opportunity to be part of Antibiotic Awareness Week by following these important steps:

Think twice

  • Before you prescribe consider the need for antimicrobials   
  • Have you ordered appropriate cultures before commencing antimicrobial? 
  • Document indication and review date in National Standard inpatient medication chart  

Seek advice 

  • Choice of antimicrobial should be in accordance with local guidelines where available or the published Australian Therapeutic Guidelines and be guided by microbiological results
  • Antimicrobials should be the narrowest spectrum possible  
  • Seek ID consultation or review for highly protected antimicrobials and protected antimicrobials outside preapproved indications prior to prescribing

Switch IV to oral 

  • At daily review assess for improvement in signs and symptoms of infection 
  • Switch to narrow spectrum antimicrobial based on culture results   
  • IV to oral switch is appropriate for most common indications for antimicrobials such as respiratory tract infections, skin and soft tissue infections and urinary tract infections.  If uncertain, seek ID advice.

Prescribe antibiotics wisely

Assess patient for source of infection

Before commencing antibiotics collect appropriate cultures

Confirm patient's allergy history before prescribing antibiotics

Document indication and review date in patient's health record

Ensure results are reviewed within 24 hours.  Switch to narrow spectrum antibiotics based on cultures results


Additional resources

Please find below further information and resources on how you can help optimise antimicrobial use:


For further information, please contact:

Ian Gassiep, AMS Physician -

Janet Watson, Director of Pharmacy -

Diana Moore, Quality Coordinator Care Standards -




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