Paula Erwin-Toth's blog

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

November is National Caregiver Month. Unpaid caregivers are the unsung army of health care providers. They give their time, energy, resources and most importantly love to those in need. Years ago images in television and movies depicted multi-generational families living under one roof in peace and harmony. Today's realities of caring for a loved one with significant medical, psychological and psychiatric needs largely go unacknowledged and unappreciated.

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

I hope everyone is doing well in the midst of challenging world and domestic events. I was having a discussion with my 7-year-old grandson and was amazed at what young minds pick up on and how they interpret world events. He was discussing the possibilities of World War III and checked out a book on modern ground weapons from the library. I listened, respected his efforts to express his understanding of chemical weapons, terrorism and war and yet tried to offer information and reassurance.

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

Last month I had the privilege of giving a presentation and attending the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) 45th Annual Conference held June 21-26 in Seattle, Washington.

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

Now that summer is upon us we will soon be entering the orientation and entry of new residents, fellows and new nursing graduates in acute care. This is a terrific opportunity for you to reach out and engage the interest of these new clinicians in evidence-based wound care practice. Granted, they are overwhelmed with new information and new responsibilities, but prevention and management of wounds is knowledge they can apply to nearly all their patients and across all health care settings.

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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.

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

Spring is finally here! At least according to the calendar it is spring but the snow on the ground in many places disputes this fact. Not only does spring herald new life and warmer weather, but it also launches the ‘meeting season’ (no, not ‘mating season’-that is a topic for another site!). Actually major meetings have already begun. The NPUAP biennial meeting was held this past February. The next major meeting on the horizon is the SAWC in May in Denver followed by the WOCN in Seattle in June. In the fall we have both the Clinical Symposium for Wound Care in October and the September SAWC in Las Vegas. Along the way, there are also outstanding regional and local meetings designed to educate, enlighten and invigorate. Some of these meetings are specialty specific, while others are interdisciplinary. Both types of meetings have their benefits and limitations.

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

March is here and for many of us winter continues unabated. The bright news is that Daylight Savings Time is coming so spring is in the offing. What is less certain is how the 'Sequester' is going to affect health care. While there has been much debate on who is to blame and how dire the consequences of across-the-board budget cuts will be, the reality is we need to be prepared for the possible impact on our patients and clinical practices.

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

Ah February! The month of love and romance. Regardless of whether Buckeye Chuck or Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter for those of us who live in the northern climes winter seems cold, dark and endless. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real possibility and the idea of hibernating until spring is tempting. If you are living with a chronic wound, this time of year can be especially problematic. Getting out for groceries, doctors appointments, or worship can be a major undertaking. The challenges for home care nurses are incredible.

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

The new year has begun. Many of us have made resolutions with the best of intentions. Exercise more, lose weight, eat healthy foods, keep blood sugar in a healthy range, stop smoking and using smokeless tobacco, watch less television. The list goes on and on. I am no stranger to not keeping my New Year's resolutions beyond a month or two. The best way to keep a resolution is to make it realistic. Make your goals achievable. Don't resolve to run a marathon if you cannot walk around the block. Rather than vowing to lose 50 pounds, set a goal of 10. Once you have lost 10 pounds resolve to lose another 10 and so on.

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

Winter weather is upon us and that brings a whole host of challenges. Our skin is more liable to experience dryness, cracking and breakdown. Everyone, especially older adults, are more vulnerable to falls due to slippery steps and walkways. Shoveling heavy, wet snow has been associated with increased risk of heart attacks. Just heading to the mailbox, grocery store or the doctor's office can spell disaster. All of these situations can combine for a 'perfect storm' for risk of skin breakdown at home and all healthcare settings.

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