BACKGROUND: Heterogeneity of outcomes measured in trials to improve antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) in care homes has compromised quality of evidence. A core outcome set (COS) is needed to facilitate interpretation and synthesis of evidence in this area.
AIM: To determine outcomes deemed important by relevant stakeholders for interventions aimed at improving AMS in care homes, and to produce a refined list of outcomes that could be considered for use in future research.
METHODS: Semi-structured face-to-face or telephone interviews were conducted with key stakeholders. Outcomes reported in previous randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of AMS in care homes were included in a topic guide for interviews. Content analysis was undertaken to identify potential outcomes suggested by participants, followed by further review.
FINDINGS: Twenty-seven outcomes reported in RCTs were refined into a list of 12 overarching outcomes. Interviews with participants (six researchers, 31 healthcare professionals, and four family members of care home residents) identified 40 additional outcomes that were important to them. From these 52 outcomes, the total number of antimicrobials, the appropriateness of antimicrobial prescribing and adherence to guidelines were highlighted by most participants. After reviewing all 52 outcomes, a refined list of 14 outcomes potentially feasible for use in AMS trials in care homes was generated.
CONCLUSION: A number of potential outcomes for AMS in care homes, some of which had not been reported in previous studies, were identified. The refined list of 14 outcomes will be used in a future study to agree a COS for care home AMS trials.