Trading Places: Encouraging Wound Care Providers to Take the Patient's Perspective Protection Status
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If you could trade places with one person for one day, who would it be? Your first thought may be an Olympian, celebrity, or even a superhero. Who wouldn't want to be awarded a gold medal, walk the red carpet, or wear a cape to soar above the big city? One thing remains certain, not one of us would choose to be one of our wound care patients. There is definitely nothing appealing about having a chronic wound.

Education for Wound Prevention and Patient Compassion

I work as an educator. My goal is to not only educate physicians and nursing staff about wound care, but to try and allure them into looking at the world out of the patient’s eyes. I speak to many health care professionals throughout the country. I can preach to the choir all day long about prevention, wound types, treatments and so on...but until I can engage the audience, I will not be any different than someone standing up in front of the room spewing out wound care facts.

Often times I convey what it would be like to experience being immobile confined in a wet bed. Or that incontinence care for infants should not differ when compared to the disabled. Many health care professionals lack empathy and compassion. When someone is ill or suffering, we should have the utmost kindness and compassion towards him or her.

Pathways to Prevention: My Personal Experience with a Non-healing Wound

I want to share a short story with you. There was 47-year-old woman named Linda, with a long-standing history of diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease. Linda had a stroke leaving her with left side hemiparesis. Linda continued on loving life, despite her ailments. She especially enjoyed having her seven month old grandson over. One day her grandson was moving around hastily in his baby walker. He accidentally bumped into her foot injuring her toe. A non-healing wound developed, worsening to gangrene. Linda eventually had an above the knee amputation.

While Linda was in the hospital recovering from her amputation, she developed stage IV pressure ulcers to her coccyx and bilateral trochanters. Linda's daughter went to visit her one evening and helped take her mother off of the bedpan. What she saw frightened her beyond belief. There was a large, draining, smelly wound. She later learned that these were bedsores from not being turned or repositioned. After discharge, Linda went weekly to the wound care center for close to a year where she endured weekly debridements and a failed flap closure. Later, Linda then died in her daughter's arms due to sepsis.

The truth is, Linda was my mother. My personal experiences have given me an immense amount of compassion and empathy for my patients. I chose to transform my painful experience into a positive rewarding career in wound care. Reaching out to so many patients, caregivers, and health care professionals brings a great deal of happiness to my life. What may have been a terrible and sad story, ended up being a blessing to me.

About the Author
Cheryl Carver is an independent wound educator and consultant. Carver's experience includes over a decade of hospital wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Carver single-handedly developed a comprehensive educational training manual for onboarding physicians and is the star of disease-specific educational video sessions accessible to employee providers and colleagues. Carver educates onboarding providers, in addition to bedside nurses in the numerous nursing homes across the country. Carver serves as a wound care certification committee member for the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy, and is a board member of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society Mid-West Chapter.

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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As a SCI T4-5 paraplegic who just underwent his sixth ischial area flap surgery, five in the last four years, it is clear we can heal the deep pressure wounds but not prevent them. Compassion is nice, results are better. I'm listening. You have entered a career of great and admirable challenge.

The one person that comes to mind is Gandhi. If we looked at the world as he did compassion would be given away like candy in your pocket.

I have worked in wound care for over seven years, and if I learned anything, the wound care professional has a special bond with there patients.
We spend a great amount of time getting to know our patients, caring for there wounds.

I would do nothing else, that is Nursing, healing not just the wounds but person.

Gandhi healed the spirit of every one he met. As a wound care professional, I heal the wound but the patient heals my spirit. Todd Basnight

Thank you for sharing your poignant story of your mother, Linda. I'm sure your mother would be proud to know how you have used your experience with loss and grief as a legacy of health promotion and disease prevention honoring her life. Having such compassion and empathy for patients enables you to empower not only your patients, but their healthcare providers as well, with your wound healing education initiatives. I appreciate you sharing this. It has left a footprint in my memory as a reminder of the significance wound healing has not only on patients, but on their families, too.

Thank you for such excellent information. I appreciate you sharing your story in this open and honest way. Great lessons learned and excellent insights for others to receive. Doing a great job, thank you!

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