Since its introduction almost 20 years ago, negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) has become a leading technology in the care and management of acute, chronic, dehisced, traumatic wounds; pressure ulcers; diabetic ulcers; orthopedic trauma; skin flaps; and grafts. NPWT applies controlled suction to a wound using a suction pump that delivers intermittent, continuous, or variable negative pressure evenly through a wound filler (foam or gauze). Drainage tubing adheres to an occlusive transparent dressing; drainage is removed through the tubing into a collection canister. NWPT increases local vascularity and oxygenation of the wound bed and reduces edema by removing wound fluid, exudate, and bacteria. (more…)
A pressure ulcer that a patient acquires in your facility or a patient’s existing pressure ulcer that worsens puts your organization at risk for regulatory citations as well as litigation. Unless you can prove the pressure ulcer was unavoidable, you could find yourself burdened with citations or fines, or could even end up in court. (more…)
Support surfaces are consistently recommended for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. So patients can derive optimal benefits from support surfaces, clinicians must understand how to use them effectively. This article answers several questions about these useful tools. (more…)
The authors of the article explain evidence-based practice and provide useful definitions for key terms. They then provide a list of eight questions to use when evaluating SRs and practical tips such as how to search for SR and MA studies. The article finishes with a list of eight interventions supported by the most evidence: hydrocolloidal dressings, honey, biosynthetic dressings, iodine complexes, silver compounds, hydrogels, foam dressings, and negative pressure wound therapy. (more…)
Pressure ulcers are a chronic healthcare burden for both patients and providers. Over 2.5 million patients in the United States are affected annually by pressure ulcers, with nearly 60,000 of those cases directly resulting in death. From a provider’s perspective, the cost of individual care ranges anywhere from $500 to $70,000 per pressure ulcer, which translates to annual costs in the U.S. approaching $11 billion. (more…)
The challenge of preventing pressure ulcers is won through our frontline staff—the patient’s caregivers. Caregivers deliver most of the pressure ulcer preventive interventions, such as turning and repositioning, floating the heels, and managing incontinence. That’s why it’s imperative to communicate the patient’s plan of care directly to the caregivers. (more…)
Achieving excellent wound care outcomes can be challenging, given the growing number of high-risk patients admitted to healthcare facilities today. Many of these patients have comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, renal disease, smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and poor nutritional status. These conditions reduce wound-healing ability. (more…)
Study finds less-invasive method for identifying osteomyelitis is effective
Researchers have found that using hybrid 67Ga single-photon emission computed tomography and X-ray computed tomography (SPECT/CT) imaging combined with a bedside percutaneous bone puncture in patients with a positive scan is “accurate and safe” for diagnosing osteomyelitis in patients with diabetes who have a foot ulcer without signs of soft-tissue infection.
The new method, which avoids an invasive bone biopsy, has a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 93.6%. In the study of 55 patients, antibiotic treatment was avoided in 55% of suspected cases.
C. difficile prevention actions fail to stop spread
Despite increasing activities to prevent the spread of Clostridium difficile, infection from C. difficile remains a problem in healthcare facilities, according to a survey of infection preventionists by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The survey found that 70% of preventionists have adopted additional interventions in their healthcare facilities since March 2010, but only 42% have seen a decline in C. difficile infection rates; 43% saw no decline.
A total of 1,087 APIC members completed the survey in January 2013. The survey also found that more than 92% of respondents have increased emphasis on environmental cleaning and equipment decontamination practices, but 64% said they rely on observation, rather than more accurate and reliable monitoring technologies, to assess cleaning effectiveness.
In addition, 60% of respondents have antimicrobial stewardship programs at their facilities, compared with 52% in 2010. Such programs promote the appropriate use of antibiotics, which can help reduce the risk of C. difficile infection.
Mast cells may not play significant role in wound healing
“Evidence that mast cells are not required for healing of splinted cutaneous excisional wounds in mice,” published in PLOS One, analyzed wound healing in three types of genetically mast-deficient mice and found they reepithelialized their wounds at rates similar to control mice. At the time of closure, the researchers found that scars in all the mice groups were similar in both “quality of collagen deposition and maturity of collagen fibers.” The findings fail to support the previously held belief that mast cells are important in wound healing.
Study identifies effective casting for diabetes-related plantar foot ulcers
Nonremovable casts that relieve pressure are more effective than removable casts or dressings alone for the treatment of plantar foot ulcers caused by diabetes, according to an analysis of clinical trials.
The authors of “Pressure-relieving interventions for treating diabetic foot ulcers,” published by The Cochrane Library, reviewed 14 randomized clinical trials that included 709 participants. Nonremovable pressure-relieving casts were compared to dressings alone, temporary therapeutic shoes, removable pressure-relieving devices, and surgical lengthening of the Achilles tendon.
The study also notes that when combined with Achilles tendon lengthening, nonremovable devices were more successful in one forefoot ulcer study than the use of a nonremovable cast alone.
Most studies were from the United States (five) and Italy (five), with Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and India each contributing one study.
Prescriber preference drives use of antibiotics in long-term care
The study of 66,901 patients from 630 long-term care facilities found that 77.8%
received a course of antibiotics. The most common length (41%) was 7 days, but the length exceeded 7 days in 44.9% of patients. Patient characteristics were similar among short-, average-, and long-duration prescribers.
The study authors conclude: “Future trials should evaluate antibiotic stewardship interventions targeting prescriber preferences to systematically shorten average treatment durations to reduce the complications, costs, and resistance associated with antibiotic overuse.”
Electrophysical therapy may be helpful for diabetic foot ulcers
The authors of the study in International Wound Journal reviewed eight trials with a combined total of 325 patients. Five studies were on electrical stimulation, two on phototherapy, and one on ultrasound. Because of the small number of trials, the possibility of harmful effects can’t be ruled out, and the authors recommend “high-quality trials with larger sample sizes.”
Significant geographic variations in spending, mortality exist for diabetic patients with foot ulcers and amputations
The study in Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications found that higher spending wasn’t associated with a significant reduction in 1-year patient mortality. In addition, rates of hospital admission were associated with higher per capita spending and higher mortality rates for patients.
Home-based exercise program improves life for lymphedema patients
An individualized, home-based progressive resistance exercise program improves upper-limb volume and circumference and quality of life in postmastectomy patients with lymphedema, according to a study published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.
PREPARE is a useful and patient-friendly website designed to help prepare people to make complex medical decisions. The website was developed by clinical researchers from the San Francisco VA Medical Center; the University of California, San Francisco; and NCIRE—The Veterans Health Research Institute.
PREPARE uses videos to provide concrete examples of how to identify what is most important in life; how to communicate that with family, friends, and doctors; and how to make informed medical decisions when the time comes. Users can also download a PDF of a PREPARE pamphlet.
Free guides for infection prevention from APIC
Download two free implementation guides for infection prevention from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC):
This revised guide contains strategies for prevention, considerations for specific patient populations, evolving practices, and how to incorporate current regulations.
• C. difficile in pediatrics and skilled nursing facilities
• pathogenesis and changing epidemiology of C. difficile infection diagnosis
• environmental control
• new and emerging technologies
• tools and examples to help apply preventative measures, such as hand hygiene monitoring, environmental cleaning, and isolation compliance.