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Digital Issues

Archive >  August, 2014 XV, No. 8

Ideas That Work: Preventing DVT

Use Paper Towels to Simulate Calf Size

paper towels

Use Paper Towels to Simulate Calf Size

Not every patient’s calves are the same size, an important point for your nurses to keep in mind when fitting your patients with sequential compression devices (SCDs). If the sleeve is too tight, it’ll hurt the calf muscles when it squeezes. Too loose, and it won’t prevent circulatory stasis. To make sure your nurses are using the right-sized sleeves, have them apply the SCD to a roll of paper towels. Full rolls simulate a bariatric patient’s calves, while half-used rolls could be an elderly patient’s. This exercise will demonstrate how ineffective the wrong sizes are.

Sharon Butler, MSN, BSN, RN
Stanford University Hospital and Clinics
Palo Alto, Calif.

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