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Anticoagulation therapy education

21 Mar 2016

By: Joe Schnabel, Pharm.D., BCPS, director of pharmacy

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Anticoagulation therapy is used to prevent and treat a number of conditions, but is also associated with the potential to cause harm due to complex dosing, deficient monitoring, and inconsistent patient adherence.

The Joint Commission 2015 National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG.03.05.01), “Reduce the likelihood of patient harm associated with the use of anticoagulant therapy” Elements of Performance include providing education regarding anticoagulant therapy to prescribers, staff, patients and families.

To achieve better patient outcomes, effective patient education is a vital component to make sure patients understand the risks and precautions of anticoagulant therapy. Education is provided by pharmacists for patients being discharged with warfarin and LMWH. It is also important for nurses and providers to educate patients receiving anticoagulation therapy. Emphasis includes the importance of monitoring through follow-up appointments, INR education, and the importance of adherence to the treatment plan by explaining its link to safety and effectiveness. Education also includes drug-food interactions, dietary precautions with warfarin, potential for adverse drug reactions and interactions by informing the patient of over-the-counter medications to avoid, and recognition of concerning signs and symptoms.

Below are anticoagulation resources prepared and used by the pharmacy: (Links are to Salem Health intranet. You will need to be on the network in order to view).

Anticoagulant Tip Sheet
Anticoagulation Guidelines
Adult Reversal of Anticoagulation and Anti-platelet Agents for Life-Threatening Bleeding or Emergency Surgery
PCC Tip Sheet