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Raising awareness of the risk of clots during hospital stays

Getting it Right

October 2018

Raising awareness of the risk of clots during hospital stays

Raising awareness of the risk of clots during hospital stays

A campaign to raise awareness about the risks of patients developing blood clots during hospital stays has been held as part of Medication Safety Week.

Certain patients are at risk of acquiring venous thrombo-embolism (VTE), or blood clots, during a hospital stay because they are lying in bed for long periods or because of existing medication they've been prescribed.

"The key message is 'Your patient's safety is in your hands. Think VTE'," Sydney Local Health District's medication safety pharmacist Angela Wai said.

An animated blood clot dubbed "Clotty" visited several wards including cardiology, haematology and orthopaedics and clinicians were asked to complete an online multiple choice quiz about the myths and facts about VTE.

The highest scoring ward - Q Seven East - were presented with a certificate and will also be offered a special morning tea.

Concord Hospital haematologist Dr Vivien Chen addressed Junior Medical Officers about the risk factors they need to consider when a patient comes to hospital.

"JMOs need to ask, 'Is it likely that the patient will acquire a clot?' If yes, then what do they need? Do they need preventative medication or should they be wearing compression stockings," Ms Wai said.

In a staff forum to promote safe practice in the administration of medication, the need to follow an existing mandatory protocol - called the Six Rights - was highlighted.

"You need to check every time that you have the right patient, drug, dose, documentation, rate [for infusions], and time before giving any medication to a patient," Ms Wai said.

There was a focus on higher-risk medications, like narcotics, insulin preparations and anticoagulants which are used to prevent or treat blood clots.

"When the list is not checked-off the chance of an error is higher. The message is to adhere to the Six Rights for all patients every single time," Ms Wai said.

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