Feasibility of a placebo-controlled trial of antibiotics for possible urinary tract infection in care homes: a qualitative interview study.
Wilcox CR., Worswick L., Muller I., Moore A., Hayward G., Lown M., Moore M., Little P., Francis N.
BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of suspected urinary tract infection (UTI) in care and nursing home residents is commonly based on vague non-localising symptoms (for example, confusion), potentially leading to inappropriate antibiotic prescription. The safety of withholding antibiotics in such cases could be addressed by a randomised controlled trial (RCT); however, this would require close monitoring of residents, and support from care home staff, clinicians, residents, and families. AIM: To explore the views of residential care and nursing home staff (herein referred to as care home staff) and primary care clinicians on the feasibility and design of a potential RCT of antibiotics for suspected UTI in care home residents, with no localising urinary symptoms. DESIGN & SETTING: A qualitative interview study with primary care clinicians and care home staff in the UK. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews with 16 care home staff and 11 primary care clinicians were thematically analysed. RESULTS: Participants were broadly supportive of the proposed RCT. The safety of residents was a priority and there was strong support for using the RESTORE2 (Recognise Early Soft Signs, Take Observations, Respond, Escalate) assessment tool to monitor residents; however, there were concerns about associated training requirements, especially for night and temporary staff. Effective communication (with residents, families, and staff) was deemed essential, and carers were confident that residents and families would be supportive of the RCT if the rationale was clearly explained and safety systems were robust. There were mixed views on a placebo-controlled design. The perceived additional burden was seen as a potential barrier, and the use of temporary staff and the out-of-hours period were highlighted as potential risk areas. CONCLUSION: The support for this potential trial was encouraging. Future development will need to prioritise resident safety (especially in the out-of-hours period), effective communication, and minimising additional burden on staff to optimise recruitment.