Delivery of Optimized Inpatient Anticoagulation Therapy

Consensus Statement From the Anticoagulation Forum

Edith A Nutescu PharmD FCCP; Ann K Wittkowsky PharmD CACP FASHP FCCP; Allison Burnett PharmD PhC; Geno J Merli MD FACP; Jack E Ansell; David A Garcia MD


The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2013;47(5):714-724. 

In This Article

6. Patient Education

The anticoagulation management system should be structured to routinely provide an adequate level of patient education regarding anticoagulant therapy prior to discharge to ensure safe and effective use of these medications in the care-transition and postdischarge periods.

Many patients have inadequate knowledge regarding their medication therapy. To achieve better patient outcomes, patient education is a vital component of an anticoagulation therapy program. Improved outcomes have been reported when patients take responsibility for, understand, and adhere to an anticoagulation plan of care.[1] The Joint Commission National Patient Safety Goals mandate that patient and family education be provided for hospitalized patients receiving therapeutic anticoagulation therapy.[9] The elements of patient education required by the Joint Commission include the importance of follow-up monitoring, adherence, drug-food interactions, and the potential for adverse drug reactions and interactions (Table 7). Effective methods of anticoagulation patient education include face-to-face interaction with a trained professional, group training sessions lasting 15–45 minutes, or the use of written materials and other audiovisual resources to review, teach-back, and reinforce the educational process. Structured programs based on established models of education may be more likely to improve a patient's knowledge level compared to improvised programs. Knowledge assessment tools, such as validated anticoagulation knowledge tests, can help the clinician assess and ensure that a patient's educational needs are met.[12] Teaching aids include written materials (booklets), visual supports (video), drawings to illustrate daily situations, and medication administration calendars. Written materials provided to patients should be developed at an appropriate reading level and, when possible, in the patient's native language. Local health literacy rates should also be considered when developing patient educational materials.


Table 7.

Elements of Patient Education for Oral Anticoagulants12