Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS)

Antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is a systematic approach to improving antimicrobial use, with a view to improving clinical outcomes and minimising adverse events relating to their use, including the development of antimicrobial resistance. Effective hospital AMS programs have been shown to decrease inappropriate antimicrobial use, reduce the burden of multidrug-resistant organisms, and improve the safety and quality of patient care.

Along with infection prevention and control activities (such as hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and managing patients with infection or colonisation), AMS is considered a key strategy in SA Health Safety and Quality programs that focus on preventing and controlling healthcare associated infections. AMS is included as a criteria in the National Safety and Quality Healthcare Service Standards (second edition) Standard 3.15 and 3.16.

The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC) has introduced their AMS initiative in response to the standards, and is continuing to develop resources to assist hospitals in implementing AMS programs. The primary reference is the publication 'Antimicrobial Stewardship in Australian Healthcare'. The Safety and Quality Improvement Guide for Standard 3: Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections has been developed to guide hospitals in preparing for accreditation.

In 2014 the Antimicrobial Stewardship (AMS) Clinical Care Standard was first published by the ACSQHC, and was updated in November 2020. The standard aims to provide guidance to clinicians and health service managers on delivering appropriate care when prescribing antimicrobials. 

This presentation on the impact of antimicrobial resistance was part of a year 11 research project, conducted by Sarah Bosboom, Scotch College, Adelaide.

National Antimicrobial Utilisation Surveillance Program (NAUSP)

SA Health administers the National Antimicrobial Utilisation Surveillance Program (NAUSP) program funded by the Australian Government Department of Health. For more information on this, see NAUSP page.

AMS key components

The key components for AMS include:

For detailed information on these components, see the Key components for antimicrobial stewardship page.

National Antimicrobial Prescribing Survey (NAPS)

NAPS is a standardised auditing tool that health service organisations may use to assess the quality of their antimicrobial prescribing, including compliance with guidelines. NAPS is an online web-based survey. For more information on participation and to register to participate, go to NAPS. NAPS survey tools focus on antimicrobial prescribing in hospitals, aged care facilities, surgery and quality improvement. Previous published NAPS reports.

Educational Resources and e-learning

'AMS: The Guts of It', is a webinar hosted by the South Australian expert Advisory Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (SAAGAR) is focused on the intestinal microbiome, the impact of antibiotics and resistance in enteric pathogens.

The ACSQHC and NPS have developed a series of online learning modules for healthcare professionals to promote and support the responsible prescribing of antibiotics.

What SA Health is doing

SA Health has prepared an AMS self-evaluation toolkit (XLSX 49KB) to enable SA Health facilities to monitor improvements in effectiveness of their antimicrobial stewardship programs. This tool is able to be modified by the user to suit small or large hospitals.

The South Australian Antimicrobial Resistance Action Plan (SAAMRAP) Steering Committee was established in 2022 to develop an AMR Action Plan for South Australia. 

The Antimicrobial Awareness Week (AAW) campaign occurs annually in November. For further details regarding SA Health’s support of this campaign, see the AAW page.

The Antimicrobial Programs team has produced educational resources for Primary School educators which include lesson plans for each year level from Foundation to Year 6.

Our page Antibiotics  what you should know is for consumers and has valuable resources for patients.

Further information

For further information on antimicrobial stewardship contact

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