The prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) has been recognised nationally and internationally as a priority patient safety issue because of the strong evidence base for preventive measures and high potential for improvements in patient outcomes.
To assist clinicians and hospitals to implement VTE prevention programs, the Commission makes available a range of resources and practical tools such as clinical guidelines, policies and staff and patient educational tools. The resources include examples of hospital policies and guidelines from some Australian hospitals.
These resources are intended for doctors, nurses, pharmacists, allied health professionals and safety and quality staff. Some information for patients is also available.
The National Health and Medical Research Council’s National Institute of Clinical Studies (NHMRC – NICS) Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Patients Admitted to Australian Hospitals 2009 provides practical, evidence-based recommendations for the prevention of VTE in adult surgical and medical patients and pregnant women admitted to Australian metropolitan, regional and rural hospitals. The recommendations should be followed subject to clinician judgment and patient preferences.
A new version of the NIMC incorporating a venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis section is available for implementation by health services. The NIMC (acute) and NIMC (GP e-version) incorporate the VTE prophylaxis section. The NIMC (day surgery) incorporates a modified VTE prophylaxis section.
The Commission has developed resources to assist health services to implement the new NIMCs
The Clinical Excellence Commission has developed a VTE Prevention Program to assist hospitals to improve their processes around VTE risk assessment and appropriate prophylaxis prescribing. This comprehensive program has a number of useful resources and tools including a VTE Prevention framework, standardised risk assessment tool and education resources for clinicians and patients.
All hospitals should have a VTE prophylaxis policy that is consistent with their state or territory policy and the 2009 Clinical Practice Guideline for the Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Patients Admitted to Australian Hospitals (Guideline). A template is provided for hospitals to use to develop a VTE prophylaxis policy that aligns with the VTE prevention guideline.
Template for hospital venous thromboembolism prophylaxis policy (Word 184 KB)
The following examples of VTE prevention policies are provided to assist hospitals and other health services developing local VTE prevention policies.
Disclaimer: These policies have been provided as examples only. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care does not warrant the content of the materials in this section.
Austin Health VTE Prophylaxis Guidelines for Acute Adult Inpatients 2010 (PDF 406 KB)
The NSW Therapeutic Advisory Group has published a position statement on the safe use of heparins and oral anticoagulants for VTE prophylaxis in adults.
VTE prophylaxis is one of the case-based modules in NPS MedicineWise’s National Prescribing Curriculum. The online module provide an interactive learning environment for health professionals, students and new prescribers to encourage confident and rational prescribing.
National Health and Medical Research Council 2011, Stop the Clot: Integrating VTE prevention guideline recommendations into routine hospital care
This document is a resource for hospitals wishing to improve practice in VTE prevention. It draws on what is currently known about effective ways of implementing VTE prevention guidelines, as well as lessons learned from teams participating in the NHMRC’s VTE Prevention Program. It sets out the key issues that clinicians and managers need to address to integrate systematically best practice and guideline recommendations into routine hospital care processes. It includes helpful tips and references for other tools and sources of information.
Hospitals can use the Medication Safety Self Assessment for Antithrombotic Therapy in Australian Hospitals tool to review the hospital’s medication safety practices on the use of antithrombotic therapy, identify opportunities for improvement, and compare their experience with the aggregate experience of demographically similar organisations.
To submit resources from your own facility for inclusion on this web page, email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important to secure permission from your facility before submitting your resources to the Commission.
The Commission does not warrant that the list is exhaustive. There could be other tools and resources related to VTE prevention that may be relevant to health services.