Journal article Open Access
Background: Rates of antibiotic use vary widely across nursing homes and cannot be explained by resident characteristics. Antibiotic prescribing for a presumed urinary tract infection is often preceded by inappropriate urine culturing. We examined nursing home urine-culturing practices and their association with antibiotic use. Methods We conducted a longitudinal, multilevel, retrospective cohort study based on quarterly nursing home assessments between April 2014 and January 2017 in 591 nursing homes and covering >90% of nursing home residents in Ontario, Canada. Nursing home urine culturing was measured as the proportion of residents with a urine culture in the prior 14 days. Outcomes included receipt of any systemic antibiotic and any urinary antibiotic (eg, nitrofurantoin, trimethoprim/sulfonamides, ciprofloxacin) in the 30 days after the assessment and Clostridiodes difficile infection in the 90 days after the assessment. Adjusted Poisson regression models accounted for 14 resident covariates. Results: A total of 131 218 residents in 591 nursing homes were included; 7.9% of resident assessments had a urine culture in the prior 14 days; this proportion was highly variable across the 591 nursing homes (10th percentile = 3.4%, 90th percentile = 14.3%). Before and after adjusting for 14 resident characteristics, nursing home urine culturing predicted total antibiotic use (adjusted risk ratio [RR] per doubling of urine culturing, 1.21; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.18–1.23), urinary antibiotic use (RR, 1.33; 95% CI, 1.28–1.38), and C. difficile infection (incidence rate ratio, 1.18; 95% CI, 1.07–1.31). Conclusions Nursing homes have highly divergent urine culturing rates; this variability is associated with higher antibiotic use and rates of C. difficile infection.