Spring Screening: Wound Patient Well-being and Skin Cancer Screenings

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

Spring is finally here. I hope that you were able to enjoy SAWC earlier this month, and have been enjoying the May weather. This time of year is one of renewal and promise. This can be a time of year when individuals with wounds find hope and encouragement or fall prey to despair. It is essential as health care providers that we do not become so focused on the wound of our patients that we fail to see the complexities affecting the individual.

They may be thinking of past springs and all the things they used to be able to do before the wound. Take the time to really talk to your patients. How do they spend a typical day? What are their hobbies? What do they do for fun? This information can give you a window to peer into their daily lives to better help them.

The mind-body connection has long been recognized in many disciplines to be essential to achieving optimum health and happiness. People need to examine how their new reality fits into their past experiences and be given assistance in coping with this new reality. This does not mean patients need to give up and resign themselves to their fate. Concepts relating to quality of life, health literacy, and locus of control can guide you in developing an individualized plan of care.

May is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month. This is an ideal time to remind your patients, families and friends about what to look for and how to prevent skin cancer. Encouraging them to see a dermatologist for a baseline assessment is a great idea. During May, many dermatology departments are hosting free skin cancer screenings.

Please take advantage of these opportunities. I speak from personal experience. I had been keeping an eye on a small lesion on the back of my leg. It was very small but became darker and slightly irregular. I took advantage of the May free skin cancer screening offered at the Cleveland Clinic. The resident I saw agreed that although smaller than lesions they are generally concerned about, the color and shape was unusual. He called in one of the staff physicians who performed a biopsy. The result of the biopsy revealed severe dysplasia and a wider excision was performed. Whew! Now I have an annual check up and thus far have no further problems. As you are taking care of others be sure to take care of yourself.

Wishing all of you good health, happiness and success!

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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