Margaret Heale's blog

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Skin care

By Margaret Heale, RN, MSc, CWOCN

In the United Kingdom, we are well into spring. As I look at the garden, there are patterns of growth literally cut into rock. Old stones with beautiful mosses, and next to a stone step, one type of rock plant has thrown up five stems and atop each is a bright red flower. The path has some wild strawberries growing up through it, and there are two bunches of well-established chives. It is a small plot on the outskirts of Newcastle, and as you walk down the road there are other gardens with similar flowers and weeds.

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Home Health Nurse

By Margaret Heale, RN, MSc, CWOCN

"Must Love Dogs (Cats, Lizards, Snakes, Birds, AND Arachnids)." This is a line that needs to be next to all job advertisements for home health care staff. You see, I am a dog lover, not because I love dogs but because I have a way of being able to adapt in order to survive. I work in home care as a clinical nurse specialist and have slowly learned to love dogs ever since I was reported to my manager for mentioning I didn't like them much. Shortly after this I was told not to visit a patient whose cat I had shooed away from my wound dressing field. While discussing this with a colleague, she told me of the bird that had landed on her head that morning just as she was probing the patient's foot wound with a Q-tip. Maybe everybody has had experiences like mine, but maybe not, so I would like to put mine to paper to entertain you in this season of good cheer.

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Details

By Margaret Heale, RN, MSc, CWOCN

In our point, click, fill-in-the -blanks world of ever increasing wound care algorithms and MOs, I have an ax to grind (straight into my so-called smart phone if I had the courage).

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Standardized Documentation

by Margaret Heale RN, MSc, CWOCN

Wound care can be so straightforward. The process starts with a comprehensive assessment, and then the wound care regimen can be planned and the frequency of dressing changes determined. A well-written order will include all of the relevant components of a wound care regimen listed below:

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Wound Research Data Review Including Outliers

by Margaret Heale RN, MSc, CWOCN

The research lecturer's name was Terry, and he had my respect and attention. Many of the students were dreading the research modules but were cheered by the prospect of Terry taking us through it.

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home care nurse with patient

By Margaret Heale RN, MSc, CWOCN

I watched a short PowerPoint DVD on the "bag technique" as part of our regular in-servicing the other day. The presentation started with the most important way to prevent cross infection—wash hands—which is fine. Then came the bag technique. I have no problem with the fundamentals of keeping your bag off the floor, only getting anything out of it after decontaminating your hands, and wiping before you store. I do have a problem with having to place the bag on a Chux or water-resistant wipeable or disposable surface, however.

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compression wrapping

By Margaret Heale RN, MSc, CWOCN

Wrapping wounds is an art, and hence, it comes easily to some and more difficult to others. This post won't make you a wound dressing artist, but it does provide some tips for good bandaging techniques. The word "bandage" (in the US) often refers to a primary dressing, so "wrap" better describes a bandage that is long, narrow, and may be used to secure a primary dressing or obtain graduated compression on a limb.

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dressing removal

By Margaret Heale RN, MSc, CWOCN

Wounds are dressed every day, and much goes into the choices that are made to properly apply wound dressings. The condition of the periwound skin should be a major factor in the decisions made, as injuring this area can extend the wound and cause considerable pain. Tape removal is one of the most painful areas of wound care.1

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Medical supply waste

Margaret Heale RN, MSc, CWOCN

Like many people, you might go to recycling every month or so and be proud to deliver a few black bags of rubbish, and recycle most everything else. Many of you may have a thriving compost heap (mine is frequented by the biggest and fattest groundhog in the universe who eats produce instead of garbage). Like me, you might think of yourself as a responsible dweller of planet earth.

Then you go to work.

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