Video advice on blood thinners

Videos are helping Australians of all ages get the best possible results from their blood thinners as part of a new trial.

Researchers from Curtin University and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital have developed the videos to help teach patients starting on oral anticoagulants, also known as ‘blood thinners’. The videos give them practical tips on how to take their medicine safely and correctly, keep track of their own health, work with their health professionals and better protect themselves against injuries, including using soft toothbrushes, wearing gloves while gardening, and using non-slip bathmats in the shower.

Lead researcher Dr Leanne Chalmers, from the Curtin Medical School, says: “Oral anticoagulants – commonly referred to as ‘blood thinners’ – are taken by Australians of all ages to prevent and treat blood clots. The reasons for taking oral anticoagulants include a fast, irregular heart rate (atrial fibrillation) and heart valve replacement surgery, both of which are more common in older Australians; and blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and lungs (pulmonary embolism), which can occur in people of any age, including travellers, people after surgery and people with conditions that increase the stickiness of their blood. Oral anticoagulants are very effective, but people need to understand how to use them correctly to help balance their chances of bleeding and clotting. Nurses and pharmacists currently do a terrific job in providing face-to-face and written information to people starting anticoagulants, but we hope offering patients a video to watch as well will allow them greater flexibility about when and how they take in this important information. There are many simple tips for helping people taking blood thinners make the most of their medicines, such as remembering to take them regularly every day, watching themselves for signs of unwanted bleeding, working with their health professionals, and preventing injuries by using soft toothbrushes, wearing gloves while gardening, and using non-slip bathmats in the shower.”


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