The PRINCESS study aims to find out whether people living in care homes who take probiotics (‘good bacteria’) each day have fewer infections and need antibiotic treatment less often.
Infections are a particular problem for Care Home Residents
Care home residents are more likely to get infections than the general population; this is because they often have weakened immunity, multiple illnesses and they live in close proximity to others in the care home setting.
Infections affecting care home residents are also more likely to be severe, recurrent and often require a stay in hospital.
As a consequence, care home residents are more frequently prescribed antibiotics, which in turn, increases the likelihood of antibiotic resistant infections (such as MRSA), which are both more serious and more costly to treat.
Could probiotics (good bacteria) help?
Existing research has shown that probiotics reduced antibiotic use and risk of respiratory infections in adults. Probiotics have also been shown to reduce antibiotic associated diarrhoea.
Therefore, probiotics could be of particular benefit to care home residents, although research in this area is lacking.
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are usually added to yoghurts or taken as food supplements, and are often described as 'good' or 'friendly' bacteria.