WDHB and WRPHO launch innovative new blood thinning monitoring programme

A new and much improved system for starting people on blood thinning medication comes into use today with the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) and Whanganui Regional Primary Health Organisation (WRPHO) jointly introducing the Warfarin Clinical Pathway.
Designed by WDHB cardiac nurse specialist Paul Boden and WRPHO practice facilitator Robyn Finucane, the Warfarin Clinical Pathway is a five page document which guides health care professionals through the prescription, administration and control of Warfarin. 
“While loading charts used for prescribing Warfarin dosages are widely used across the country,  the Warfarin Clinical Pathway is different in that it accompanies the patient from the moment the drug is prescribed in hospital, through to when they are discharged and medication management is taken over by the general practitioner.
“The pathway offers guidance for the starting dose, length of treatment, patient education and safe patient handover to the GP.
“Following discharge the patient’s GP will continue to manage the initial dosage focusing on finding the right level of Warfarin. Then once the correct dose is established, the patient will receive individual guidance from the Wanganui Hospital laboratory.”
Mr Boden says the new pathway is aimed at standardising and improving continuity of care in hospital, and between the hospital and GPs. Standardisation of treatment and clear communication between the hospital and GPs is essential to improving quality of care and patient safety.
Warfarin can cause unwanted side effects so a large part of the Warfarin pathway is focused on correct patient education around the drug, enabling the patient to self monitor and have ownership of their treatment
Standardisation of the education programme has been critically important. Because Warfarin needs to be carefully managed, education is key. “We will be providing this at the hospital prior to discharge and at GP level,” Mr Boden says.
“It’s the strong working relationship between Wanganui Hospital and the WRPHO which has made this programme possible. The Warfarin Clinical Pathway will be closely monitored to allow for any fine-tuning that might be needed.”