Holly Hovan's blog

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fistula management

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

A fistula is an abnormal opening between two areas that typically shouldn't be connected, or with an epithelialized tract. An example is an opening from the bowel to the abdominal wall, termed enteroatmospheric or enterocutaneous (the terms are sometimes used interchangeably) because this fistula is exposed to the atmosphere, or is open from the abdomen to the skin, and typically needs to be pouched or some type of containment of the effluent.

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patient repositioning

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

Friction and shear… what’s the difference and how do they cause pressure injuries? Are wounds caused by friction and shear classified as pressure injuries? What’s the easiest way to explain the differences between these critical components of the Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk® that are not always understood? How do I know if my patient is at risk?

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patient mobility and activity

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

The Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk® category of activity focuses on how much (or how little) the resident can move independently. A resident can score from 1 to 4 in this category, 1 being bedfast and 4 being no real limitations. It is important to keep in mind that residents who are chairfast or bedfast are almost always at risk for skin breakdown

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enteral nutrition feeding

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

A common misconception by nurses is sometimes predicting nutritional status based on a resident's weight. Weight is not always a good predictor of nutritional status. Nutritional status is determined by many factors and by looking at the big picture.

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Moisture on Skin

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

When nurses hear the term moisture, they usually almost always think of urinary or fecal incontinence, or both. There are actually several other reasons why a patient could be moist. Continued moisture breaks down the skin, especially when the pH of the aggravating agent is lower (urine, stomach contents—think fistula, stool). When there is too much moisture in contact with our skin for too long, we become vulnerable to this moisture, and our skin breaks down. Increased moisture places a patient at risk for a pressure injury as the skin is already in a fragile state.

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peroperative ostomy siting

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

When marking a patient for a stoma, it is important to consider the practice based on evidence acquired by the wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) nurse during training and experience. Stoma siting procedures are based on evidence-based practices:

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neuropathy testing for sensory perception (Braden Scale)

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

As wound care professionals, the Braden Scale for Predicting Pressure Sore Risk® is near and dear to our hearts. With that in mind, our evidence-based tool needs to be used correctly in order to yield accurate results. Working with long-term care and geriatric populations opens up a world of multiple pre-existing comorbidities and risk factors that aren’t always explicitly written into the Braden Scale categories. Additionally, the frequency of the Braden Scale may also contribute to a multitude of different scores; the resident behaves differently on different shifts, for example, asleep on night shift but up and about on days. What is the correct way to score them? I believe that a less frequent Braden Scale assessment yields more accurate results. However, we should still complete a Braden Scale on admission, transfer, receiving, and most importantly, with any change in condition.

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comparison

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

As wound care clinicians, we are aware that part of the process of consulting requires a comprehensive wound assessment, looking at wound characteristics, causative factors, and drainage. As I've previously mentioned, we've all heard the term, "a dry cell is a dead cell." However, not all wounds are dry.

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elderly patient skin tear prevention

By Holly M. Hovan MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWON-AP

I'm sure you're all familiar with the terms "prednisone skin," "thin skin," "fragile skin," or "easily bruises." One or all of these phrases are commonly used to describe our geriatric population's aging skin. As we age, so does our skin. Skin loses elasticity and often gains wrinkles. Skin conditions that were maybe never present throughout life can crop up with aging. Keep in mind that the environment and different exposures (to sunlight, smoking, and stress) can cause our skin to age differently. Additionally, certain drugs, obesity, diet/lifestyle, habits, exercise, repetitive movements, and family history can also influence how our skin ages. Exposure to radiation (for cancer treatment) can also cause skin changes several years after treatment is complete. Regardless of the reason, as we age, our skin composition changes, and undoubtedly the risk for skin tears increases.

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Calciphylaxis

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWON-AP

In patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD), there is a decreased renal clearance that causes an increase in phosphorus, then calcium, in the body. Elevation of these two electrolytes causes the parathyroid gland to secrete additional parathyroid hormone to compensate. This, however, leads to increased movement of phosphorus and calcium throughout the body.

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