by Mary Ellen Posthauer RDN, CD, LD, FAND
by Lydia A Meyers RN, MSN, CWCN
I have been thinking for awhile about what to do for this month’s blog. During the time I worked for CTI nutritional I realized that many wound care nurses, including myself, are not well trained in nutrition. I also noted the impact that nutrition has on patients and their quality of life.
I have seen amazing changes in patients with the addition of total parenteral nutrition (TPN) in their wound care. The addition of nutritional supplementation not only decreases the time it takes wounds to heal, but it also changes the quality of life for many patients. A patient that is so weak, he/she cannot move in bed, suddenly becomes stronger and able to move without assistance after receiving TPN therapy. Next, the same patient is sitting up in a chair and feeling more a part of the family. This actually happened and is only one amazing story I have seen in just the last few weeks.
A patient with pancreatic cancer who received TPN has become full of life and even went on a fishing trip. This is a patient that lost so much weight that they could hardly move before the start of receiving TPN. He is now actually enjoying what is left of his life with his family. The patient’s wife is thrilled by the changes in how he is feeling and so am I.
Another case was that of a patient with a wound that continued to get worse, and who was unable to move or change position. The patient was in great pain and the nurse that treated the wound was unable to heal it and/or was unaware of how to heal it. Finally, a doctor intervened and the wound started to heal. With the addition of TPN, the patient improved and started talking, laughing, and interacting again. It was a beautiful thing to witness the changes in how the patient was feeling. The improvements in her life were a miracle in the making. The wound continues to heal without any problems or magical dressings.
These are only a few stories of the miraculous changes in the patient’s condition after nutritional therapy was introduced. There are hundreds of stories out there of success with the addition of good nutrition and very often, TPN. Why is nutrition therapy such a misunderstood intervention for wound healing? Why do nurses seem to shy away from it? It is not always the dressing that heals or doesn’t heal a wound; it is what you are doing for the patient. Most wound patients have many co-morbidities or problems that interfere with wound healing. These conditions and issues need to be looked at and considered when assessing a patient and determining appropriate care to heal their wounds. If the patient was healthy, he/she would not have a chronic wound to begin with.
About the Author
Lydia Meyers RN, MSN, CWCN has been a certified wound care nurse for over 15 years with experience working in home healthcare, extended care facilities, hospice care, acute care, LTAC, and wound clinics. Her nursing philosophy to "heal wounds as quickly as possible" is the guiding force behind her educational pursuits, both as a teacher and a student.
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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