LUH Participates in "Antimicrobial Stewardship Collaborative" to Promote Judicious Use of Antibiotics



Kirsten Pfotenhauer, Communications Manager

Longmont United Hospital Participates in “Antimicrobial Stewardship Collaborative” to Promote the Judicious Use of Antibiotics

Last year, Longmont United Hospital signed up to participate in the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA)’s “Antimicrobial Stewardship Collaborate” – a two-year effort focused on increasing the appropriate treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs) and skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) by correctly prescribing antibiotics. While antibiotics are an essential tool for fighting bacterial infections, when they are used indiscriminately or for too long of a time, they can destroy many of the good bacteria in a patient’s intestines, leaving the patient at risk for developing Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) , a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Antibiotic overuse has also led to the evolution of more antibiotic-resistant bacteria – or “superbugs” – that are surfacing in health care facilities around the world.

Longmont United Hospital’s participation in this program is led by the Antimicrobial Stewardship Committee, a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Patricia Gill, the physician champion, and Ri Holbrook, the pharmacist champion, with participation of members from the Quality, Infection Control, Informatics, and Microbiology Lab. It is focused in the Emergency Department, Medical and Surgical Care Units, as well as the Intensive Care Unit.

“We have learned a lot from this program in the past year and are already starting to see improvements in the amount of antibiotics prescribed and the duration for which they are prescribed,” said Dr. Gill, “We know that this is a difficult change to make, but we are committed to this process because we know it will reduce the exposure to antibiotics for our patients.”

Longmont United Hospital is one of 26 hospitals from around Colorado participating in the CHA Antibiotic Stewardship Collaborative and is committed to making appropriate changes to these clinical practices to improve patient safety. Longmont United Hospital has participated in numerous webinars, site visits and meetings to learn from national experts and colleagues about this issue.

During the first year of focused work on the issue, Longmont United Hospital saw the following improvements:

  • Fewer patients are treated with a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones for urinary tract infections. This class of antibiotics includes ciprofloxacin (Cipro®) and levofloxacin (Levaquin®). They can cause serious side effects. These antibiotics also put patients at a higher risk for developing serious diarrheas. In addition, they are becoming less effective due to rapid development of bacteria resistance.
  • Fewer patients receive multiple antibiotics for skin and soft tissue infections. Antibiotic regimens are chosen more prudently to effectively treat the infections also minimize patients’ exposure to unnecessary antibiotics.
  • More patients receive shorter courses of antibiotics. The duration of antibiotic treatment is carefully assessed in each patient with the goal of preventing recurrence of the infection and minimizing the patient’s exposure to prolonged antibiotic treatment.

The Collaborative is part of a growing body of work to address the issue of antibiotic and antimicrobial stewardship, including efforts by the Centers for Disease Control and the White House.

About Longmont United Hospital

Longmont United Hospital is a non-profit community hospital affiliated with Centura Health with specialty areas in Women’s & Children's Services, Cardiology, Comprehensive Surgical Services, Cancer Care, Trauma Services, Transitional Care and Acute Medical Services. It offers quality inpatient and outpatient healthcare services including Physician Services and a 24-hour Emergency Department. The Emergency Department is a Level III trauma center that has the capacity to treat approximately 45,000 patients each year. Further information about Longmont United Hospital can be found at

About Centura Health

Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through its 17 hospitals,two senior living communities, health neighborhoods, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life® Colorado, it is making the region’s best health care accessible and affordable in every community it serves. Further information about Centura Health can be found at

About the Colorado Hospital Association

The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 member hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado. Learn more at


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