If you have never heard of deep vein thrombosis before, it is a condition that occurs when a person has a blood clot in a deep vein. In most cases, DVT occurs in the legs, but it has the potential to form in other areas of the body as well.
Deep vein thrombosis is more common when someone doesn’t move often or has poor circulation. It may also occur if a personal has phlebitis (the inflammation of the vein walls) or if they have an injury to the blood vessels in the area.
Deep vein thrombosis is relatively common among those who are critically ill or who have had a pulmonary embolism or stroke. The incidence of DVT is around 80% in critically ill patients and between 20 to 50% in patients who have had a stroke.
What are the signs of DVT?
There are a few signs of DVT that may help nurses or other staff members identify when a resident of the nursing home has one. Edema is one of the more common signs, which is when there is swelling in the extremity because fluids have built up. The fluids build because the outflow of blood is limited.
Tenderness is another possible sign of DVT. The vein wall will become inflamed, and this leads to tenderness upon touching the area.
It’s possible, too, that pulmonary embolisms may be the first sign of DVT. Someone who is already dealing with clots in the lungs may have DVT elsewhere.
What should high-risk patients do to help avoid DVT?
Any patient who is at risk of DVT should be doing regular leg exercises or be using compression stockings. Additionally, pneumatic compression devices may help increase circulation, potentially helping to avoid the development of clots.
Deep vein thrombosis is not an uncommon condition, and a nursing home staff should be aware of which patients are at risk. If they are not keeping up on medical orders to keep a patient in compression stockings or to use devices to boost circulation, then they could be held liable for their medical negligence.