Background: Effective management of warfarin therapy is often challenged by its complex pharmacology and preventable adverse events. One strategy to ensure safe warfarin use is
provision of comprehensive warfarin education to patients. Aim: To review the provision of warfarin education to hospital patients prescribed warfarin and to describe patient characteristics that may impact on warfarin education.
Method: A prospective study was undertaken at 2 large Australian metropolitan hospitals. Provision of warfarin education was identified by auditing the medication charts and
clinical notes of hospitalised older patients (≥ 65 years). Patients were also interviewed to confirm whether they recalled receiving warfarin education during their hospital stay.
Results: Data were collected for 96 patients with a mean age of 74 (SD 13) years. Most patients (78%) were admitted to medical wards, were taking warfarin for atrial fibrillation (56%), and had started warfarin prior to admission (54%). 36% of patients had provision of warfarin education documented in medication charts and clinical notes, and in most cases warfarin
education was provided by a pharmacist. Of the 68 patients available for interview, only 47% recalled receiving warfarin education; in the majority of cases they cited pharmacists as
providers of the education.
Conclusion: There is a need to improve documentation and provision of warfarin education to hospital patients.