Early-onset neonatal bacterial infection is a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in newborn babies. NICE recommends that if a neonate requires antibiotic treatment should be given as soon as possible, and always within 1 h of the decision to treat.1
Aim To quantify the time between decision to start antibiotics and its administration to the neonate.
Method Retrospective study over 6 weeks of all neonates admitted to postnatal ward for intravenous antibiotics.
Results Total of 24 neonatal notes was reviewed on the post-natal ward. In three cases patient records and/or documentation missing. Total of 21 cases data were analysed.
The common indications for antibiotics were prolonged rupture of membranes, respiratory distress and maternal fever.
Only in 5% of cases were antibiotics administered within 1 h of the decision making, in 47% of cases it took 1–2 h. Only in 33% of cases antibiotics were prescribed within one hour of decision making. In 95% of cases antibiotics was administered within one hour of prescription.
Conclusion Administration of antibiotics within one hour of decision making proved difficult. Thought that most delay arises during transfer for cannulation, prescription of antibiotics was also delayed and therefore administration. Further exploration of this delay and appropriate resolutions will improve administration times of antibiotics and therefore treatment outcomes in suspected neonatal infection.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Antibiotics for Early-onset Neonatal Infection. [CG149]. London: National Institute for Helath and Care Excellence; 2012
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