Aged care antimicrobial surveillance project

What is the Aged Care Pilot Project?

The aged care pilot project is a 12-month project investigating the feasibility, usefulness, acceptability, and barriers of real-time volume-based surveillance of antimicrobial usage in South Australian Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs).

Why is this important for aged care residents?

Antimicrobials are a group of medicines that are used to treat and prevent infections. Antimicrobials may stop working if the organisms causing the infection become resistant to the antimicrobial(s). Resistance can happen if antimicrobials are used too much or if they are used incorrectly.

Older adults are at a high risk of getting antimicrobial-resistant organisms because of their older  age, weaker immune systems and other health problems they may already have1. Close living environments for older adults in RACFs and regular contact with potentially infected or colonised healthcare staff can also increase the risk of infections that are resistant to antimicrobials2. Studies have also shown that antimicrobial use within RACFs is often inappropriate or they are used too much3.

What is the benefit for aged care residents?

Monitoring the amount of antimicrobials used in RACFs can help to find areas where improvements are needed and help stop the spread of resistance.

This project will aim to create an online portal where antimicrobial usage data from contributing RACFs can be uploaded. Contributing RACFs will then be able to download reports to support efforts in optimising antimicrobial prescribing. These reports will allow RACFs to accurately monitor their antimicrobial use in real-time, identify any trends or unexpected use, help identify areas requiring improvement and evaluate the impact of antimicrobial stewardship activities. Data from this surveillance may also be used to compare usage rates against other similar RACFs.

If the program is successful during the pilot period, there is potential of its roll out nationally.

Further information

For further information of the aged care pilot project contact the project lead surveillance officer.


  1. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, AURA 2021: Fourth Australian report on antimicrobial use and resistance in human health. 2021, ACSQHC: Sydney.
  2. Rogers, G.B., L.E. Papanicolas, and S.L. Wesselingh, Antibiotic stewardship in aged care facilities. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2018. 18(10): p. 1061-1063.
  3. National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship and Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2019 Aged Care National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey Report. 2020: Sydney: ACSQHC.