Patient Outcomes

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Paula Erwin-Toth, RN, MSN, FAAN

Hello to my wound care colleagues around the world. As I write this blog, the news relating to the results of COVID-19 continues to provide evidence of the profound impact this pandemic has had on those suffering from the disease and the negative impact shut downs and quarantines have had on the health of people with chronic illnesses. We, as health care providers, are under tremendous stress as many of us have been re-deployed to maintain and support the overwhelming challenges of front-line health care providers serving patients with COVID-19. We, too, are on the front lines helping to maintain skin integrity in critically ill patients who are often intubated and placed in the prone position. The physical, emotional, and financial strains on patients, health care providers, businesses, and governments are going to affect us for years to come.

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By Alton R. Johnson Jr., DPM

It all started with a phone call at close to midnight on a Saturday night from my physician’s phoneline app. It was an established wound care patient calling me to state that his negative pressure therapy device went awry. He was requesting advice to resolve the issue. Out of these growing concerns, he stated that if there was no solution, he would be immediately reporting to our hospital emergency room, which was not his preference in such a situation. In response, I simply informed the patient it was safe to turn off the device and that I would make a home visit to him at 5 o’clock the next morning. With a sigh of relief, he agreed to the plan.

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Diabetic Foot Ulcer Care and Patient Support

By the WoundSource Editors

Diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) complications are challenging and costly. Evidence-based practice and advanced wound care technologies have the potential to maximize good outcomes and prevent ulcer recurrence, but ensuring that patients receive education on diabetes management and DFU prevention is also a vital step. Over time, people with unmanaged diabetes have increased chances of complications such as neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), chronic DFUs, infections, osteomyelitis, amputation, and even death.

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WOC Nursing

Holly Hovan MSN, RN-BC, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN-AP

As you may have already heard, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the year of the nurse and midwife. The WHO has informed us that in order to achieve universal health coverage by 2030, we need 9 million more nurses and midwives! This is a huge number. Just think, if 9 million more nurses and midwives are needed, how many more wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) specialists are going to be needed?

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Wound Care Costs

By Lydia Corum RN MSN CWCN

The times are changing in the world of wound care. There used to be a time when there were no problems with reimbursements, as long as the doctor wrote the order. Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations confuse clinicians and make the world of healing wounds much more difficult. The changes are in the area of denials with not enough information given for choosing dressings, use of negative pressure therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Are all these changes needed? Why are these changes happening? What can hospitals and wound clinics do to make things better?

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Discharge Planning

Holly M. Hovan MSN, RN-BC, APRN, CWOCN-AP

You might notice the hospital halls seem a little quieter around the holidays, the unit census may be down, and patients may be asking about their discharge plans. The holidays can be a time when patients want to be home (when they're able to).

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Acute Surgical Wound Service

By Kathy Gallagher, DNP, APRN-FNP, CMC, UMC, BC, WCC, CWS, FACCWS

In 2010, Christiana Care Health System, a 1,000 bed Level I trauma center in Wilmington, Delaware, introduced an acute surgical wound service (ASWS) integration plan in with a single dedicated nurse practitioner, trauma surgeon, and administrative leader. Subsequently, trauma patients with complex wounds experienced decreased morbidity and length of stay. Closely aligned with these numbers, their patient days of negative pressure wound therapy fell from 11+ days in 2010 to 8.2 days in 2018, representing one of the lowest in the nation.

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Patient Noncompliance

Christine Miller, DPM, DMM, PhD, FACCWS

One of the most difficult aspects of patient care is dealing with non-compliance. How do we help those who refuse to help themselves? This question is very convoluted indeed! The best treatment protocols in the world will be unsuccessful if the patient does not follow the recommendations. Patients with chronic wounds are usually those with multiple comorbidities such as uncontrolled diabetes, autoimmune disease, and uncontrolled hypertension. This complex medical picture is challenging enough for all of us trying to heal them, but add the patients' lack of concern for their own health and it is quite frankly maddening. I find myself often saying, "Help me help you" or "Healing is a team event," although mostly my genuine pleas for partnership fall on deaf ears.

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Coordination of Care

By Christine Miller, DPM, DMM, PhD, FACCWS

One of the gratifying aspects of being a wound care physician is the ability to develop such rich relationships with our patients. The frequent and consistent contact with the same provider lays a strong foundation of open communication and trust. I work in an urban safety net hospital’s ambulatory care center, which sees a high volume of high-acuity patients. It is not uncommon for me to see patients with venous leg ulcerations with concomitant uncontrolled hypertension or diabetic foot ulcerations secondary to uncontrolled blood glucose levels. Patient education is a vital part of my clinical encounters, particularly focusing on the systemic nature of wound healing. I always emphasize that while we are treating your wound, it is the full body well-being that is needed for ultimate success.

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Communication

Paula Erwin Toth, RN, MSN, FAAN, WOC nurse

Northeast Ohio is now being enveloped by a polar vortex. The subzero temperatures put everyone at risk, but our patients with chronic wounds are especially vulnerable. Neuropathy can desensitize them to the cold and result in frostbite, inadequate shelter and heat, and an inability to go to health care appointments, shop for food, or pick up (or even afford) prescriptions and wound care products. This can have devastating effects.