Patients' perceptions and experiences of the prevention of hospital-acquired thrombosis: A qualitative study
Objective: To examine patients' understanding of hospital-associated thrombosis, and their experiences of thromboprophylaxis. Design: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 31 patients requiring venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis following a recent hospital admission. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically using framework analysis. Setting: 4 hospitals in Birmingham and Oxford. Results: All the participants received thromboprophylaxis following surgical procedures. Participants were aware of a risk of blood clots; however, they lacked a good understanding of VTE and its components. Experiences of VTE prophylaxis were characterised with good adherence to heparin injections and poor adherence to elastic compression stockings, largely due to perceived lack of clarity in guidance from health professionals. Participants had limited knowledge of the signs and symptoms of VTE and would value improved education on VTE. Conclusions: Findings suggest that patient education is often inadequate and impacts negatively on patients' involvement in VTE prevention. An enhanced patient education programme incorporating a consistent message on the appropriate use of elastic compression stockings and description of VTE symptoms is likely to optimise the effectiveness of the prevention of hospitalassociated thrombosis. Physicians may use the results of this study to improve individual patient education.