Prevention of Venous Thromboembolism in Adult Patients With Cancer in the Acute Care Setting

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Adult patients with cancer in the acute care setting face numerous potential complications related to malignancy. Risk for development of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is among the most critical of adverse outcomes for this patient population, ultimately leading to increased morbidity and mortality rates. Nurses must be familiar with the general pathophysiology of VTE and pathophysiology specific to oncology to prevent the occurrence of this complex hematologic process. Knowledge of pharmacologic prevention methods, such as low-dose unfractionated heparin, low-molecular weight heparin, and warfarin, as well as mechanical prophylaxis such as graduated compression stockings and intermittent pneumatic compression devices, is essential to preventing VTE. The ability to develop and implement an educational plan tailored to the specific learning needs of each patient also is a vital skill that must be incorporated into the practice of nurses caring for patients with cancer in the acute care setting to prevent the incidence of VTE in this population.

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