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Baylor at Waxahachie awarded for creating proactive initiative

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Reduced rate of patient re-admissions due to blood clots by 50 percent
WAXAHACHIE - Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie was recently recognized by Baylor Health Care System at the first annual BHCS Quality Improvement Summit for successfully creating a system to identify and treat patients at high risk for developing venous thromboembolic events, or blood clots, during their hospital stay.

Recognized as one of the leading causes of preventable death in hospitals, VTEs affect up to four times more people annually than breast cancer.

As a result of Baylor Waxa-hachie's efforts, 100 percent of patients admitted to the hospital are now screened for their risk of developing a blood clot.

'Currently, there is no standardized assessment tool available for hospitals to screen and treat patients at high risk so I applaud our staff for taking the initiative to create one - they feel this is one of the best things they have ever done for their patients,' says Jay Fox, president, Baylor Waxahachie.

'Because of the success and reliability of Baylor Waxah-achie's VTE initiative, BHCS is recommending all hospitals within the Baylor system adopt similar assessment tools for their patients.'

VTEs occur when blood accumulates or pools in the veins forming a blockage that can travel to other parts of the body - such as major organs—restricting blood flow and oxygen and sometimes resulting in death.

Some patients in hospitals are at risk for developing VTEs as the result of damage to a vein—such as during a surgical procedure—or long term inactivity and extended bed-rest. If a clot forms, symptoms such as swelling, skin discoloration, numbness or tingling may eventually develop at the site of the clot after the patient has been discharged. However, sometimes no obvious symptoms are present at all.

Once a blood clot has formed, a patient is at an increased risk over an extended period of time for the clot to dislodge and cause a serious complication such as a heart attack, stroke or pulmonary embolism—blockage of an artery in the lung.

'The first step in preventing blood clots is to identify those patients at risk for developing them,' says Donna Drain, director of pharmacy and team leader of the VTE initiative at Baylor Waxahachie. 'Through our patient screening and evidence-based intervention, we have significantly reduced the rate of patient re-admissions due to VTE which tells us that this method is reliable in preventing blood clots in our patients.'

'VTE screening and prevention is just coming to the forefront in healthcare. In fact, the Joint Commission will soon mandate that all hospitals develop a VTE screening method so Baylor Waxahachie is an innovator in this area,' adds Fox.

To reduce the number of patients affected by VTEs, Baylor Waxahachie created a scoring system to determine each patient's individual level of risk. A screening form - included in every patient's admission packet - is completed by an admitting nurse and asks questions about the patient's medical history that may contribute to their development of a blood clot. Once a patient's risk or 'score' has been determined, the patient's physician uses the standardized order form to select appropriate preventive treatments such as low-dose anti-coagulants (blood thinners) or mechanical devices like compression stockings to aid in blood circulation.

'We started this project more than three years ago and it has been a success largely because of the outstanding participation from our staff and physicians and their dedication to patient safety,' says Drain. 'We are committed to providing safe, timely, efficient, effective, equitable—and most importantly—patient-centered care at Baylor Waxahachie,' adds Drain.

Baylor Waxahachie's VTE screening and intervention initiative has now been implemented as a standard process for all adult patients admitted to the hospital.

The Baylor Health Care System Quality Improvement Summit was created to reward and recognize top performers throughout the system that demonstrate a sustainable improvement in a process or outcome that aligns with and supports the goals of Baylor Health Care System. The awards also serve as a forum to spotlight, share and award outstanding work in all areas of Baylor Health Care System.

Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie is a not-for-profit hospital dedicated to providing technologically advanced medical care closer to home for the residents of southern Dallas and Ellis counties. For more information, visit www.BaylorHealth.com.

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