Know Your Patient Rights: Keep Life Flowing
1 in 4 people die of causes related to thrombosis, a life-threatening, but preventable condition that affects millions of people worldwide each year.
Being in the hospital is a major risk factor for the development of venous thrombosis (VTE). Patients with decreased mobility - due to bedrest or recovery - or who experience blood vessel trauma - due to surgery or other serious injury - are more likely to develop blood clots.
Be proactive. If you’re admitted to the hospital, or if you are having surgery, you should be given a VTE risk assessment. If you've been admitted to the hospital and you haven't had your thrombosis risk checked, it's important that you ask a doctor or nurse. Equally, if you've been told you're at risk of blood clots and have been given medicine, stockings or other devices, it's important that you understand how to use them properly.
Appropriate prevention may include:
- Anti-clotting medications (e.g., anticoagulants)
- Mechanical devices (e.g., intermittent pneumatic compression devices or rapid inflation venous foot pumps, graded compression stockings)
Certain factors can increase your risk for developing VTE. When conducted by a healthcare professional, a VTE risk assessment can indicate your risk and lead to proper prevention.
Know if you are at risk of developing VTE. Know the signs and symptoms. Take control of your health and proactively reduce your risk.
Know VTE Risk Factors:
- Being in the hospital for an extended period of time
- Having surgery (especially hip, knee and cancer-related surgery)
- Not moving for long periods of time (e.g., due to bedrest or long-duration travel)
- Age (60+)
- Personal or family history of blood clots
- Using estrogen-based medication (e.g., oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy)
- Pregnancy or recent birth
- Alcohol consumption
- Ask your healthcare professional to assess your risk of developing VTE. If hospitalized, ask for an assessment as soon as you are admitted to the hospital.
- Discuss the outcomes of your VTE risk assessment and ask what can and will be done to reduce your risk. Information should be provided verbally and written down.
- Ask to have your pulse checked for an irregular heartbeat which could be due to atrial fibrillation (AFib).
If you or someone you know is going to the hospital, be proactive and be prepared. Ask important questions about VTE risk and proper prevention.
Think VTE and take the global pledge to know and exercise your rights.