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Open Communication and Goal Setting: Keystones of Wound Care

January 9, 2013

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

The new year has begun. Many of us have made resolutions with the best of intentions. Exercise more, lose weight, eat healthy foods, keep blood sugar in a healthy range, stop smoking and using smokeless tobacco, watch less television. The list goes on and on. I am no stranger to not keeping my New Year's resolutions beyond a month or two. The best way to keep a resolution is to make it realistic. Make your goals achievable. Don't resolve to run a marathon if you cannot walk around the block. Rather than vowing to lose 50 pounds, set a goal of 10. Once you have lost 10 pounds resolve to lose another 10 and so on.

Don't give up your favorite foods - try making them with healthier ingredients, start using a smaller plate, don't go back for seconds, begin your meal with a hearty low fat soup and a salad with low fat dressing. By the time your main meal is on the table it will not take long for you to feel full (not stuffed). Eat at the table, not in front of the television. Savor what you are eating - make the dining experience something you enjoy. Never underestimate the power of a support system. Convince your family and friends to join you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.

You might wonder what this has to do with wound care. In reality it has everything to do with preventing and healing wounds. We health care providers see so many people bemoaning the fact they have a chronic wound that is taking a long time to heal. Many acknowledge their own actions may have contributed to the problem, but many do not. Our job is to care for them, provide health education and teaching, encouragement and understanding. They are reason we are here. Sharing the above resolution advice with our patients is just one way we can offer that education, encouragement and understanding. We need our patients to communicate and be honest with us. We need to know how well they understand their plan of care and are able and willing to adhere to the plan. Honest two-way communication is essential to make healing happen and prevent another chronic wound.

We understand it is easy for patients to become discouraged. We can help them with that too. Share both the setbacks and victories together. Talk to your patients about their goals for the new year and work together on building them into their plan of care and maintaining those goals throughout the course of the year.

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.

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