Warfarin management after discharge from hospital: A qualitative analysis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, 2012, 37 (4), pp. 410 - 414
Issue Date:
2012-08-01
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What is Known and Objective: Warfarin is recognized as a high-risk medication for adverse events, and the risks are particularly heightened in the period immediately following a patient's discharge from hospital. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of Australian patients and healthcare professionals of warfarin management in the post-discharge period and identify the benefits and deficiencies of existing systems, to inform the development of a model for a new collaborative post-discharge warfarin management service. Methods: Healthcare professionals, professional organization representatives and patients recently discharged from hospital taking warfarin (consumers) were recruited via purposive, criterion-based sampling within two Australian states. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted between August and October 2008 using standard discussion guides. Data were manually analyzed to identify emergent themes using a phenomenological approach. Results: Forty-seven participants were involved in the telephone interviews. Three major themes emerged: (i) appropriate warfarin education is integral to effective warfarin management, (ii) problems occur in communication along the continuum of care and (iii) home-delivered services are valuable to both patients and healthcare professionals. Discussion: Although high-quality warfarin education and effective communication at the hospital-community interface were identified as important in post-discharge warfarin management, deficiencies were perceived within current systems. The role of home-delivered services in ensuring timely follow-up and promoting continuity of care was recognized. Previous studies exploring anticoagulation management in other settings have identified similar themes. Post-discharge management should therefore focus on providing patients with a solid foundation to minimize future problems. What is New and Conclusion: Addressing the three identified facets of care within a new, collaborative post-discharge warfarin management service may address the perceived deficiencies in existing systems. Improvements may result in the short- and longer-term health outcomes of patients discharged from hospital taking warfarin, including a reduction in their risk of adverse events. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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