Clinical Intentions of Antibiotics Prescribed Upon Discharge to Hospice Care

Sarah A. Servid, Brie N. Noble, Erik K. Fromme, Jon P. Furuno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objectives: To better understand the clinical intentions for antibiotic prescribing upon discharge from acute care to hospice care. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Five hundred forty-four–bed academic, acute-care, tertiary referral hospital in Portland, Oregon. Participants: Adults (≥18) who received an outpatient prescription for antibiotics on discharge from an acute care hospital to hospice care between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011 (N = 149). Measurements: We determined whether antibiotics were indicated for treatment of an active infection, palliative treatment, prophylaxis, or prescribed according to family or participant preference. Results: Antibiotics were prescribed to 17.6% (n = 149) of individuals discharged to hospice care over the 3-year study period. Antibiotics were most frequently prescribed for pneumonia (19.5%), urinary tract infections (18.9%), and gastrointestinal tract infections (17.0%). The explicit rationale for antibiotic prescription was documented for only 72 prescriptions (45.3%). For 84 (52.8%) participants, antibiotics were used to treat an active infection in the hospital. Of prescriptions with a documented rationale, 37.5% indicated that the intent was curative, 26.4% prophylaxis, and 22.2% to suppress an infection. For 19.4% of prescriptions, participants or their family members specifically wanted to be treated with antibiotics. Only 9.7% of prescriptions specifically indicated that antibiotics were prescribed for palliative reasons. Conclusion: Antibiotics were frequently prescribed for treatment of active infection in individuals discharged to hospice care. Further research is needed to document antibiotic benefits and risks and optimize medication management at the end of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-569
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • antibiotics
  • discharge planning
  • hospice
  • transitions of care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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