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Keywords:

  • community pharmacy;
  • home care services;
  • patient education;
  • warfarin

Abstract

Objectives

Good warfarin knowledge is important for optimal patient outcomes, but barriers exist to effective education and warfarin knowledge is often poor. This study aimed to explore the educational outcomes of home-based warfarin education provided by trained pharmacists.

Methods

In a prospective, non-randomised, controlled cohort trial, patients received either usual community-based post-discharge care or a post-discharge warfarin management service, including warfarin education by trained pharmacists during two or three home visits. Patients’ warfarin knowledge was assessed at 8 and 90 days post-discharge using the Oral Anticoagulation Knowledge test.

Key findings

One hundred and thirty-nine patients were recruited into the usual care group between November 2008 and August 2009, and 129 into the intervention group between May and December 2009. Pharmacist-delivered warfarin education was associated with a significant difference between the intervention patients’ baseline and day 8 mean warfarin knowledge scores of 64.5% (95% confidence interval (CI) 61.0–68.5%) and 78.0% (95% CI 74.5–81.5%; P < 0.001), respectively. The intervention patients also scored significantly higher than the usual care patients at day 8 (65.0%, 95% CI 61.5–68.0%; P < 0.001), but not at day 90.

Conclusions

Use of an existing healthcare framework overcame several systemic barriers by facilitating warfarin education in patients’ homes. While the intervention was associated with better short-term warfarin knowledge, follow-up may be required to optimise its benefits. Widespread implementation of home-based warfarin education by pharmacists has the potential to contribute significantly to improved outcomes from warfarin therapy.