16 New Year's Resolutions for the Wound Care Community

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By Mary Ellen Posthauer, RDN, CD, LD, FAND

As we watched the bright colored ball drop at midnight in Times Square and listened to John Lennon's classic song, "Imagine", we closed out the past year and now reflect on the future. What is your greater vision of how the world could be for our clients in 2014? We are entering into a new era and in some ways uncharted territory for how health care will be delivered in the United States.

Estimates indicate that at least one third of patients arrive at the hospital malnourished and, if left untreated, continue declining nutritionally. Their length of stay increases which may lead to risk of complications, such as pressure ulcers, and result in readmissions. If we are going to improve the quality of life for patients and control cost, we must address the adverse impact of malnutrition and redefine how nutrition care is delivered.

My 2014 Resolutions for the Wound Care Community

Reflecting on John Lennon most popular song, I can only "imagine all the people" living without the pain and suffering inflicted by their wounds. "Living life in peace" and "living for today" as the lyrics state translates into my personal dream for 2014. My vision and hope for the wound care community includes:

  1. Creating an institutional culture where all stakeholders value nutrition
  2. Redefining the role of all clinicians to include nutrition
  3. Elevating the role of nutrition care as a component of patient recovery
  4. Providing nutrition screening with a validated tool for every patient in every setting
  5. Recognizing and diagnosing all malnourished patients or those at risk
  6. Referring patients that are at risk of malnutrition, malnourished and/or with wounds to a registered dietitian for a comprehensive nutrition assessment
  7. Providing rapid communication and implementation of an individualized nutrition plan
  8. Providing nutrition interventions within the context of the cultural and religious beliefs of the patient
  9. Coordinating nutrition care with the interdisciplinary team members
  10. Monitoring of the oral intake and supplements or enteral nutrition by all clinicians
  11. Encouraging or assisting patients at mealtime, as needed
  12. Collaborating with the interdisciplinary team (that includes the patient and/or caregiver) to evaluate the nutrition plan
  13. Providing nutrition counseling and education as part of the care discussion for every patient
  14. Providing access to high quality food, including oral nutrition supplements, for all patients regardless of their economic status
  15. Educating the patient and family on the importance of nutrition for wound healing
  16. Ensuring the nutrition care plan is incorporated into the discharge plan

Making Wound Care a Team Effort

I hope my vision for 2014 has sparked some thoughts on your dream for the future. If you haven't already, I encourage you to download the white paper Understanding Your Wound Care Team: Defining Unidisciplinary, Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary and Transdisciplinary Team Models. My personal preference is the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary team approach. As Helen Keller said, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

About The Author
Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND is an award winning dietitian, consultant for MEP Healthcare Dietary Services, published author, and member of the Purdue University Hall of Fame, Department of Foods and Nutrition, having held positions on numerous boards and panels including the National Pressure Ulcer Panel and the American Dietetic Association's Unintentional Weight Loss work group.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.

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