Functional Medicine for Chronic Wound Conditions

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Caregiver and Client

By Paula Erwin-Toth MSN, RN, CWOCN, CNS, FAAN

Fall is in full swing. The leaves in Ohio are just past their full glory, the Cleveland Browns are having another disappointing season and the debate about health care reform goes on. In other words, not much has changed from the past several years. Our clients with chronic wounds may feel the same: different day, different year, same problems with no end in sight. One wound may have healed only to recur or another erupt in a different location.

Functional Medicine: How It Can Help Patients with Chronic Wounds

That is where we as wound care providers can make a tremendous difference. Evidence-based practice is the crux of our profession. The ever increasing body of research in a variety of specialties has opened a treasure trove of effective treatments for a plethora of chronic wounds. Improving the intrinsic and extrinsic environments are vital to prevention and healing of chronic wounds. An essential part of those environments includes addressing the psychological aspects of people living with a chronic condition. The underlying pathology of a person's chronic condition may in itself cause a biochemical reaction that can contribute to or worsen depression.

A relatively new specialty, Functional Medicine, has emerged specifically designed to assist people with chronic conditions in maximizing their quality of life. In collaboration with the other members of the patient's health care team, the staff in Functional Medicine work with the patient to examine underlying causes of their disease and develop a plan to improve their overall health as well as adapt to living with a chronic condition.

Living with a chronic illness can be physically and psychologically draining for the client and their caregivers. It is important for us to recognize and show appreciation for the unsung (and usually unpaid) members of the health care team: family caregivers. November is National Family Caregivers Month. Please take the time to acknowledge and thank the family caregivers who help support our clients every day and every hour of their health care journey. Be sure to thank them in front of your client; sometimes our clients forget to show appreciation for their loved ones who make such a positive difference in their lives. A little nudge from you to remind them of this would not be amiss!

A Pioneer in Wound Care: Dr. Steven Reger

Finally a word of condolence on the loss of one of the greats in wound care. Dr. Steven Reger passed away September 14, 2015 after a short but valiant battle with ALS. Dr. Reger was a pioneer in raising global awareness in the fields of topical wound care, pressure ulcer prevention and management and support surfaces. His research, hundreds of patents and tireless efforts toward implementing them into clinical practice made a huge impact in the field of wound management. For those of us who were privileged to know him well, his intellect was only surpassed by his genuine warmth and kindness. The world is a lesser place without Dr. Reger.

About The Author
Paula Erwin-Toth has over 30 years of experience in wound, ostomy and continence care. She is a well-known author, lecturer and patient advocate who is dedicated to improving the care of people with wounds, ostomies and incontinence in the US and abroad.

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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