The use of graduated compression stockings in Autralian intensive care units: a national audit
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Graduated compression stockings (CS) are used to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT); however, there is little known about the nursing practices surrounding their use in intensive care units (ICUs). This descriptive survey of adult ICUs in Australia sought to identify the nursing practices associated with the use of CS. A total of 91 (89% response rate) ICUs - 68 (75%) public and 23 (25%) private - responded. CS were used in conjunction with anticoagulants in 88 (97%) units and with sequential compression devices (SCDs) in 48 (53%) units. Knee length CS were used most frequently (n=37, 41%); however, 31 (34%) units used both knee and thigh. Most units (n=80, 95%) allocated new CS for each patient and most (n=72, 79%) allocated one pair of CS per patient. Correct sizing was determined by the use of a tape measure in 74 (88%) of the units. CS were washed by hand in 74 (88%) units. A total of 67 (74%) of the units reported that unit protocol or tradition was a factor in determining CS use, whereas 45 (50%) reported that research evidence was also a factor. These findings suggest that while Australian ICUs are demonstrating best practices in relation to certain CS practices, Australian standards for linen and other manufacturing guidelines and are not being followed. (author abstract)
Australian Critical Care
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