Physician attitudes concerning anticoagulation services in the long-term care setting

Journal Article

Objectives: There is little experience in the use of specialized anticoagulation services in the long-term care setting. Even less is known about physician attitudes regarding these services. To examine this issue, we surveyed physicians caring for nursing home residents in a sample of long-term care facilities located in Connecticut. Methods: We surveyed physicians providing care to nursing home residents of a convenience sample of 21 Connecticut nursing homes. (These facilities had participated in a quality assessment and improvement project on preventing strokes in nursing home residents with atrial fibrillation.) Physicians were requested to complete a structured questionnaire about the challenges to managing nursing home residents on warfarin therapy and preferences concerning the use of an anticoagulation service to manage warfarin therapy in this setting. Results: A total of 245 physicians were asked to participate in the survey, and 114 o(47%) responded between November 5, 1999 and January 14, 2000. Of the 114 physicians who returned the survey, 91 reported that they currently cared for residents in long-term care facilities and thus completed the questionnaire. The majority of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that an anticoagulation service would reduce the workload on physicians, increase the costs of care for nursing home residents on warfarin, and increase the percent of time that pursing home residents on warfarin are maintained in the target therapeutic range. Most physicians disagreed or strongly disagreed with statement suggesting an anticoagulation service would decrease the costs of care for nursing home residents on warfarin, reduce the liability of the prescribing physician, interfere with their ability to care for patients on warfarin therapy, and reduce the risk of warfarin-related bleeding. Forty-fice percent of respondents agreed with a statement that an anticoagulation service would intrude on physician decision-making. Only about half (53%) of the respondents indicated that they would or might utilize an anticoagulation service for managing their long-term care patients on warfarin. Conclusions: Use of specialized anticoagulation service to manage warfarin therapy is a system-level approach with the potential to improve the effectiveness and safety of this treatment. Physician skepticism regarding the usefulness of anticoagulation services will only be overcome by subjecting this approach to rigorous evaluation and by assuring physicians of their ongoing involvement in decision-making regarding warfarin therapy in their patients.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Harrold, LR; Gurwitz, JH; Tate, JP; Becker, R; Stuart, T; Elwell, A; Radford, M

Published Date

  • 2002

Published In

  • Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis

Volume / Issue

  • 14 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 59 - 64

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1023/A:1022018422237