VTE in psychiatric patients
Until recently, NICE guidelines on VTE prevention did not specifically mention psychiatric inpatients5, and VTE prevention has previously received little attention in psychiatric services.
Despite an increasing body of evidence that patients with severe mental illness are at increased risk VTE risk assessment has not been embedded into psychiatric care and data on the incidence of HAT in psychiatric inpatients appears to be difficult to access via existing data reporting systems.
More recently updated NICE guidelines on VTE prevention have sought to address this, advising that all acute psychiatric inpatients should be assessed to identify VTE and bleeding risk on admission, using a risk assessment tool, and that all patients should be reassessed during their admission, with a view to prescribing appropriate pharmacological VTE prophylaxis if needed. However the existing Department of Health VTE risk assessment tool does not include specific mention of factors relevant to psychiatric inpatients.
A Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request was sent by email to all 71 mental health trusts in England.
Trusts were asked a list of questions (Figure 1), including whether they had a VTE policy, whether a VTE risk assessment tool was being used, and the incidence of VTE in their psychiatric inpatients.
Responses were collated and analysed manually.