Talking to Your Patients
Communicating with Your Patients
Communicating well with patients is an important competency for healthcare professionals. It’s vital for physician-patient communication to meet the informational and emotional needs of the patient. This leads to better understanding, knowledge sharing and patient adherence to medical prophylaxis.
Being patient-centric is clearly communicating about illness in terms of the taxonomy of disease and focusing on the patient’s position, which includes perspectives on his or her illness, the need for information and understanding and the desire for a partnership in medical care. To resolve any conflicts or confusion, the healthcare professional’s goal is to address both with further dialogue and negotiation.
Talking to Patients about Blood Clots
Research shows that patients want to learn as much as possible when it comes to a diagnosis. Specific to thrombosis, patients want to learn about the signs and symptoms, risk factors, possible complications, prevention treatment. Most patients prefer to receive education during their one-on-one consultation with a healthcare professional. The next most common preferences are video and paper educational materials, many of which are available for free download on the World Thrombosis Day website. These methods – speaking directly with patients, videos and paper educational materials – improve prophylaxis and decrease preventable harm and should target the entire continuum of care including caregivers, patients and their families.
What is a VTE Risk Assessment?
A venous thromboembolism (VTE) prevention protocol is a standardized VTE risk assessment, linked to a menu of appropriate VTE prophylaxis options for each level of risk, which provides guidance for management of patients with contraindications to pharmacologic prophylaxis. Bleeding risk tools and guidance for the timing of administering anticoagulant prophylaxis around surgical procedures or other high bleeding risk intervals should also be part of a protocol.
Protocols define best practice at the local level based on the best evidence available, with operational definitions that focus on measurement tools and other aspects. Unfortunately, opinions vary on a preferred VTE risk assessment tool. VTE risk assessment is essentially a tool. Patients are targeted for interventions to prevent VTE (anticoagulant or mechanical prophylaxis and efforts to improve mobility) based on the assessment of risk of a VTE event. A healthcare professional must weigh the potential benefit of identifying a VTE with the possible discomfort, expenses and other adverse effects that could result from the prophylactic measures.
VTE risk assessment tools include, but are not limited to, the following:
- NHS / NICE Risk Assessment for VTE
- Padua Model
- The IMPROVE (International Medical Prevention Registry on Venous Thromboembolism) Model
- Caprini Model
- Wells Score
- Australian and New Zealand Working Party on Management of Venous Thromboembolism
- Italian Model
Find relevant information to share with patients
Talk your patient through the VTE risk assessment to ensure understanding and to answer any questions they may have.