PERFORMANCE: A service designed by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been selected as a finalist for the 2011 NICE Shared Learning Awards.

The “Stop the Clot” project aims to save lives by preventing patients from developing a venous thromboembolism after major abdominal and pelvic surgery for colorectal cancer.

Despite no extra funding or staff, a multi-disciplinary team devised a policy to implement NICE’s recommendation that appropriate postoperative patients be given a 28 day course of a blood-thinning drug to reduce the risk of blood clots.

Previously patients in Sheffield received the blood-thinning drug enoxaparin only during their inpatient stay following surgery, which could be as short as three days. The new policy aimed to ensure this was extended after discharge so all patients identified as “at risk” completed a 28 day course.

To achieve this, patients were trained by nursing and pharmacy staff, or local district nurses, on how to self-administer the drug at home and provided with pre-loaded enoxaprin syringes and sharps bins. For those unable to administer the injection by themselves, local district nurses visited their homes to make sure the treatment course was finished.

In the first month of the new policy’s implementation, enoxaparin was successfully administered for 28 days to 12 out of 16 patients who underwent major abdominal or pelvic surgery for cancer.

Three shortlisted projects will be voted on by delegates at the NICE conference in Birmingham on 10-11 May to determine the overall Shared Learning Award winner.