Providing Hope to Patients with Wounds

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By Aletha Tippett MD

I have written about so many things over the past years… Maybe now is a good time to announce that I am writing a book called Hear Our Cry, an autobiographical story about 20 years of wound care and limb salvage. The process has had quite an impact on me, reviewing all the pictures and notes from my wound patients from the past two decades.

The Importance of Hope

What a tragedy has been spread out in front of me when I consider all the pain and heartache due to limb wounds and limb loss. The important thing is that we, as wound care providers, are in the position to offer hope. That is the most important and powerful thing in our arsenal. Sometimes we lose the battle, and sometimes we win spectacularly—but we can always be there to offer hope to our patients.

How wonderful it is to think and talk about the successes, the legs saved, the wounds healed… But how sad it is to talk and think about the legs lost, the deaths, the tragedies of human life…

In all of my patient cases, the most striking thing is the love of families that surrounded them. Giving hope to the patient and to the family is the best thing that we as wound care practitioners care offer, hope that everything that can be done will be done, and hope that if things don’t go well, the patient will not suffer.

Remember that people with wounds always have pain; that they are often afraid and without hope. That is something that we can offer our patients: we can treat their pain, give them knowledge to dispel fear, and give them hope that they will not be left alone and without care. When one of my adult patients with cerebral palsy died of an infection at the hospital, her mother wrote in a heartfelt card, “Thank you for all you did to support, encourage, and heal. You are still my Wound Care Team.”

Heal the Person; Heal the Wound

Sometimes when I look at the pictures of my wound patients, I think, “how can anything be done? “ I know, though, that facing the future bravely—with a smile and hope—is important… That it’s the approach these patients need.

Patients with chronic wounds do not need someone telling them there is nothing that can be done… Yes, there is something that can be done, and we will do it. It might not heal the wound, but it will heal the person and give them hope.

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.

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