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Stockings for all surgery patients

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Nurses should routinely offer compression stockings to patients admitted for surgery, according to latest NICE guidance on reducing the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).

Nurses should routinely offer compression stockings to patients admitted for surgery, according to latest NICE guidance on reducing the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).

All patients admitted for a procedure requiring an overnight stay in England and Wales should be assessed on admission to identify individual VTE risk, NICE said today. This should be based on a set list of criteria, including age and body mass index.

Those considered at high risk of developing VTE, and all patients undergoing orthopaedic surgery, should receive low molecular weight heparin or fondaparinux as an alternative.

But the institute said all surgical patients, regardless of risk, should be given verbal and written information on the risks of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.

Additionally, all relevant patients should be offered thigh-length graduated compression stockings from point of admission, accompanied by instruction on how to wear them.

Kim Carter, a DVT nurse specialist at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and a member of the guideline development group, said nurses should play a vital role in the assessment process and patient education. 'They will be the key people in educating patients about their risk and teaching them the importance of adhering to the prophylactic measures,' she said.

See next week's NT for a full update on the guidance.

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