June is Wound Care Awareness Month, established to recognize the challenges experienced by individuals whose lives are affected daily by chronic wounds and to bring awareness to the general public of the support given by wound specialists.
Nearly 7 million people in the United States are living with a non-healing wound, including 2 million who have diabetic foot ulcers. The longer a chronic or non-healing wound goes without proper treatment, the greater the chance of infection, hospitalization or even amputation.
The prevalence of chronic wounds is growing, driven by an aging population and increasing rates of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
To address this problem, Rooks County Health Center (RCH) offers a holistic approach to wound care, designing a personalized treatment plan based on each individual patient’s needs. The wound care team coordinates care with the patient’s primary care providers, surgeons, family members, nursing home staff, home health staff, and inpatient nursing staff. Other specialists involved include social services, radiology, and lab services.
The RCH wound care team also helps order home dressings for patients and type up detailed wound care instructions with emergency contact information for each patient. The team assists with checking patient eligibility and insurance coverage for various grafts and other treatments. The team also keeps patient’s resources in mind and assists in providing care that is appropriate for each patient based on their personal situations.
Once a treatment plan is established, the RCH team guides the patient through the wound healing process. This might include teaching how to care for the wound, helping to get any supplies the patient may need and coordinating any tests the doctor requests.
Just a partial list of what the RCH wound care team provides for patients includes:
- Assessing the unique needs of each patient to determine appropriate treatment plans
- Educating patients and families on best practices to promote healing and wellness
- Tracking treatments and patient progress according to HIPAA guidelines
- Treating all types of open wounds, scars or skin infections
- Assess all the nutritional needs of the patient
- Emotional support for the patient is also a part of the responsibilities of a wound care nurse as well as providing emotional support to the patient’s family and educating them about necessary care and wound care outcomes.
- Implementing preventive measures in order to reduce the incidences of ulcers and wounds
- Assessing patients for peripheral circulation and apply compression wraps to lower extremities.
- Assisting with sterile procedures, placing grafts, and debridement.
- Monitoring the recovery of the patient and altering the treatments as needed.
Brooklyn Foster, RN, is the RCH Wound Care Coordinator and is proud of the team’s commitment to seeing their patients on the road to successful recovery, saying “We have had several success stories and healed some severe pressure injuries, diabetic foot ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, lacerations, burns, and post-surgical wounds. It is an ever changing area of medicine and we are always learning new things. Many of our patients have sent us thank you cards and letters after they have healed. It is a great feeling of accomplishment when we get to see a patient’s wound heal completely”.