Assessment of Oral Anticoagulant Use in Residents of Long-Term Care Homes: Evidence for Contemporary Suboptimal Use

Ann Pharmacother. 2017 Dec;51(12):1053-1062. doi: 10.1177/1060028017723348. Epub 2017 Jul 26.


Objective: To describe the quality of warfarin use in residents of long-term care facilities and investigate potential predictors oral anticoagulant use.

Design: Retrospective chart review (August 2013 to September 2014).

Setting: Thirteen long-term care (LTC) and assisted living facilities (ALF).

Participants: Residents from LTC or ALF settings who ( a) received warfarin or direct-acting oral anticoagulants (DOACs) and ( b) residents with a valid indication for oral anticoagulants such as atrial fibrillation, venous thromboembolism, but were not receiving these drugs.

Primary outcome: Time in therapeutic international normalized ratio (INR) range (TTR).

Results: A total of 563 residents (70% female) with an average age of 85 years were identified. Participants had an average of 7.5 comorbidities and 9 medications. A total of 391 (69%) residents with indications for OACs were receiving such medications. Indications were atrial fibrillation (63%), venous or pulmonary embolism (16%), cardiac valves (0.4%); 26% did not have documented indications. Warfarin and DOACs were prescribed for 213 (38%) and 178 (32%) respectively, and 172 (31%) received no OACs The TTR ranged from 56%-75% (mean 63%). The frequency of INR determinations ranged from every 7 to 20 days, (mean 13 days) with no apparent relationship between frequency of testing and TTR.

Conclusion: The TTR was higher (63.8%) than literature average (50%), but remains suboptimal given expected benefits of TTRs >75% versus TTRs circa 60%. Documentation of indications for OACs needs improvement, and it is possible that OACs are underused. Further work is necessary to understand how OAC use may be optimized in these facilities.

Keywords: assisted living; atrial fibrillation; drug utilization; geriatrics; long-term care; oral anticoagulants; quality; stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Assisted Living Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • International Normalized Ratio
  • Long-Term Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Venous Thromboembolism / drug therapy
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin