Palliative Wound Care: Merging Symptom Management into Advanced Wound Care Practice
by Aletha Tippett MD
A Different Mindset
The traditional goal of wound care is to heal or prepare for surgical closure, but techniques and procedures used to “heal” a wound can be painful or uncomfortable and very costly. It is inappropriate to ignore wounds or declare them untreatable in patients at the end of life even though that patient’s lifespan may not allow cure. Palliative wound care requires a different mindset than traditional wound care, yet is based on the same fundamental scientific principles.
Integrating Palliative Care
It continues to be a challenge to successfully incorporate palliative care concepts into our existing health care system that focuses so heavily on disease eradication. It is equally challenging to integrate palliative concepts throughout the continuum of wound care when the primary goal has always been curative. Palliative wound care is the merging of symptom management into advanced wound care. Palliative care goals work in tandem with those aimed at complete wound closure, addressing objectives focused on quality of life issues for both patient and family. Palliative wound care is ideal for those wounds in which the underlying etiology does not respond to treatment and or the demands of treatment are beyond the patient’s tolerance or stamina.
The field of Palliative Wound Care is emerging and has captured the interest of all who provide care for patients who suffer with chronic wounds. Today we know that palliative approaches to the care of wounds are simply the natural evolution of treatment options developed as a result of general advancements in modern medicine. Palliative principles introduced early into wound care provides the patient and their families options that maximize functional status, shifting the priorities from curative to palliative as the progressive nature of the disease demands.
There is a great need for further education and training in this field. Readers who are interested are encouraged to check www.hopeofhealing.org and register for the Second Annual Palliative Wound Care Conference, the only wound conference devoted to palliative care.
Watch WoundSource.com for more blog notes here about palliative wound care.
About The Author
Aletha Tippett MD is a family medicine and wound care expert, founder and president of the Hope of Healing Foundation®, family physician, and international speaker on wound care.
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.