By Brette A. Tschurtz, MPH, Project Director
The discharge information a patient brings home can be critical to ensuring a safe hospital-to-home transition, especially as it relates to the proper use of medications. This holds particularly true for venous thromboembolism (VTE) patients.
Each year, between 300,000 and 600,000 Americans are affected by VTE, the formation of blood clots in the vein, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). VTE is the third leading vascular diagnosis after heart attack and stroke, according to the American Heart Association.
For many years, discharge instructions for VTE have included medication management recommendations related to the use of warfarin. In recent years, however, a growing number of alternatives to warfarin, such as direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), are being more widely used. It is important that patients discharged on any anticoagulants receive clear, comprehensive and up-to-date education and discharge instructions.
Compendium of Resources
To better understand the elements of patient discharge instructions and education related to DOACs and other alternatives to warfarin, The Joint Commission’s Department of Health Services Research embarked on an 18-month research project, “Discharge Instructions for Venous Thromboembolism (VTE): A Comprehensive Approach to Medication Management.”
The project revealed that there are many existing and publicly available resources for VTE patients being discharged on anticoagulants. Many of these resources are highlighted in a new Compendium of Resources.
The Compendium, reviewed by an eight-member Technical Advisory Panel of clinicians, contains links to more than 70 publicly available online resources from 35 national and international organizations. It is available free to the public on The Joint Commission website.
We encourage health care organizations to review the materials in the Compendium of Resources as they adapt or develop their own patient education materials. We hope this Compendium will help clinicians and other health care professionals provide up-to-date and comprehensive instructions for VTE patients discharged on anticoagulation therapy.
The project was funded by Bristol Myers-Squibb and Pfizer, Inc.