The American Society of Hematology produced a series of guidelines on prophylaxis for venous thromboembolism, which can be a patient safety problem among hospitalized patients. Key recommendations include low-molecular-weight heparin as the preferred agent when medication prophylaxis is indicated and screening of all hospitalized patients for venous thromboembolism risk and bleeding.
Kane-Gill SL, Dasta JF, Buckley MS, et al. Crit Care Med. 2017;45:e877-e915.
Although technology has helped decrease medication errors, adverse drug events remain a significant source of harm. Patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) may be particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to the complex nature of their care. Prior research has shown that medication errors occur more frequently in the ICU and are more likely to cause serious patient harm or death. This clinical practice guideline highlights environmental changes and prevention strategies that can be employed to improve medication safety in the ICU. The authors also describe components of active surveillance that may augment detection of medication errors and adverse drug events. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed a case involving a serious medication error in the ICU setting.
Busse JW, Craigie S, Juurlink DN, et al. CMAJ. 2017;189:E659-E666.
Opioid pain medications carry high risk for adverse drug events, and opioid misuse is a growing patient safety concern. This guideline provides recommendations to augment safe prescribing of these high-risk medications for patients with chronic noncancer pain.
Berríos-Torres SI, Umscheid CA, Bratzler DW, et al. JAMA Surg. 2017;152.
Surgical site infections are a common hospital-acquired condition. This clinical guideline reviews the literature and gathers expert opinion to identify generalizable evidence-based strategies to reduce surgical site infections. The authors highlight antimicrobial, preoperative hygiene, glycemic control, and skin preparation procedures to prevent infection.
Michael YL, Whitlock EP, Lin JS, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:815-25.
Falls are a major source of preventable morbidity and mortality for elderly patients in both the ambulatory care and hospital setting. However, efforts to prevent falls have been limited by a lack of high quality evidence supporting specific prevention strategies. This AHRQ-funded systematic review identified several focused interventions, including physical therapy, exercise, and vitamin D supplementation, that appeared to reduce the risk of falls in outpatients. The evidence base in this area has also been strengthened by recent studies showing that patient education and individualized interventions can prevent falls in hospitalized patients.
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