Association for the Advancement of Wound Care: Second Annual Pressure Ulcer Summit Protection Status
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by Kara Couch, MS, CRNP, CWS, CWCN-AP

The Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC) is dedicated to providing forums that challenge the status quo, promote new ideas for practice and research, and, most importantly, share information that immediately enhances the care we provide to the patients who so desperately need our expertise. For wound care to advance as a specialty, our educational programs must not focus on novices and consist of redundant sanitized content; progress in wound care requires open debate and critical evidence-based analysis. To achieve this, the AAWC is hosting a series of regional, single-topic meetings that are designed to bring high-level content at an affordable cost closer to our members who may not have the ability to attend a national meeting.

The AAWC held its first Pressure Ulcer Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 9 and 10, 2018. The goal of the Summit was to create a forum for experts representing the diverse number of professional organizations dedicated to wound care to explore the most recent science regarding pressure ulcer formation, compare and contrast this knowledge with our current practice patterns, and identify opportunities and innovative prevention and intervention strategies that are more effective, efficient, and appropriate across all practice settings. A total of 38 speakers, representing the clinical and laboratory/bench research realms, presented on numerous topics, including:

  • The pathology of pressure-induced tissue damage
  • Methods of detecting and assessing tissue at the muscle/bone interface before skin manifestations
  • The interaction of body composition, atrophied gluteal tissues, and skeletal structure on tissue deformation and pressure in different seating positions
  • Barriers to the translation and implementation of guidelines in the clinical setting
  • Utilization of relevant quality metrics to improve patient care
  • Challenges using risk assessment tools in a variety of settings and patient populations
  • The hazards of the term “injury” as a label for pressure-induced tissue damage

A cadre of international wound care experts provided additional insight on issues such as terminology, documentation, clinical risk assessment and management, and the functional impact of pressure ulcers. Attendees represented the entire continuum of care (i.e., acute care, long-term care, home care, outpatient care), hospital- and corporate-based research, four different countries, and six professions. In the true spirit of a summit, attendees shared their unique perspectives and challenges based on their experience and clinical setting. As expected, discussions were quite lively.

Building on the success of the inaugural summit, the second annual Pressure Ulcer Summit will be held on February 8 to 9 , 2019 in Atlanta, with a pre-Summit workshop on February 7, 2019. The focus this year is on the patient and how the patient moves through the health care systems with a pressure ulcer. At the same time, presenters will integrate research findings to provide a fully informed treatment algorithm. We are very pleased to have four people who have had or currently have pressure ulcers share their experiences and wisdom with our attendees. This first-hand knowledge is invaluable for clinicians to understand the patient’s perspective of an often arduous and complicated process. Each person has a unique story to share and will detail the challenges, frustrations, victories, and day-to-day experience of living with a pressure ulcer.

The pre-Summit workshop, "PrU Prevention Programs: Quantify, Justify, Strategize," will provide essential knowledge needed to maximize success of pressure ulcer prevention programs and will focus on breaking through the barriers of culturally held norms, monitoring meaningful metrics, and institutionally prioritizing the programs by administrators, clinicians, and stakeholders. The workshop is ideal for Quality Improvement Specialists, Hospital and Facility Administrators, CNOs, Program Directors, Clinicians, and Skin Champion Team members. This highly interactive program will leverage the combined knowledge of clinician and researcher participants for a deeper understanding of pressure ulcer problems.

The AAWC is collaborating with national and international wound care stakeholder organizations to fully inform the attendees of best practices, cutting-edge research, and algorithms for treating pressure ulcers. This is the list of participating organizations:

  • Academy of Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management of the American Physical Therapy Association (ACEWM/APTA)
  • American College of Clinical Wound Specialists (ACCWS)
  • American Geriatrics Society (AGS)
  • American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA)
  • European Wound Management Association (EWMA)
  • Mexican Association for Comprehensive Care and Wound Healing (AMCICHAC)
  • The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA)
  • Wound Healing Society (WHS)
  • Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN)

Topics to be discussed at the Summit include:

  • Recent research into skin changes with aging and frailty and their impact on pressure ulcer healing
  • Exploration of the concepts of effective offloading, repositioning, and safe patient handling, as well as how to incorporate these concepts successfully into patient care
  • The science of soft tissue biomechanical stresses during functional positioning and mobility and their role in contributing to risk and soft tissue damage
  • The evolution of the age of direct observation into the use of "smart" products that measure, interact, and provide feedback regarding the patient's risk of pressure-induced tissue damage, as well as information about the biochemical wound environment. How can these smart products be incorporated into pressure ulcer risk assessment and management?
  • Comprehensive management of patients with new and chronic pressure ulcers
  • Open discussion with our international colleagues on the challenges and opportunities faced in pressure ulcer care
  • Focus on the current state of the science behind the early interventions used to treat pressure injury, both topical therapy and risk reduction strategies
  • A comparison of the European and American perspectives in surgical flap repair and their post-operative protocols, as well as the surgical management of osteomyelitis
  • Review of care settings (long-term acute care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities , assisted living, wound clinics) and the pros and cons of each site in terms of its impact on the patient
  • Durable medical equipment, which is usually essential for the pressure ulcer patient but can be very frustrating to obtain in a timely manner; includes strategies for successful coverage by insurance
  • What's on the horizon for pressure ulcers in research and where gaps in research can be addressed

The full agenda and registration information are available at

In addition to the PrU Summit, the AAWC is hosting a Wound Infection Summit (WIS) on April 26 and 27, 2019 in Atlanta. Stay tuned for more details on the WIS, and please plan to join us for these fantastic meetings.

About the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC)
The Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC) is the largest non-profit, interdisciplinary wound care organization in the United States and is focused on education, public policy, and the application of evidence-based wound care practice. Conceived in 1995, the mission of the AAWC is to advance the care of people with and at risk for wounds. For more information, visit

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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