Three registered nurses (RN) at Panhandle Home Health have passed the National Wound Care & Ostomy Certification Course & Exam (WCC) as part of Panhandle Home Health’s Wound Care Initiative, started in 2013 with a single WCC-certified RN, Cathy Reifer. In 2015, WISH (Women Investing in Shepherd) awarded their inaugural grant to a regional nonprofit, Panhandle Home Health. This grant of $26,250, along with additional private donations and grants, has allowed thirteen nurses to participate in the intensive, week-long training course. These RNs are prepared to provide specialized consultation and a unique supervisory level of clinical expertise in wound assessment and the specialized care involved for patients. Their training involves differentiation of wound types and the appropriate care; recognizing the effects of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or COPD on wound healing; understanding care products and their implementation; wound-healing techniques; and patient education.
Over 50 percent of the patients seen by Panhandle Home Health require this unique care. Specialized wound care can enable patients to return to their pre-surgical or pre-wound lives more quickly and comfortably. For working adults, efficient wound healing translates into quicker return to work and productivity. With more RNs holding the WCC, many more patients’ wound conditions can be addressed quickly, allowing for physician review, and immediate medication or treatment, as needed. Training more nurses in this complex treatment protocol is part of Panhandle Home Health’s goal to decrease the suffering of all patients with wounds, speed recovery time, and decrease the need for re-hospitalization thus reducing the impact on health-care costs for the entire region. Cathy Reifer, RN, WCC, stated, “the confidence and knowledge gained from taking the course has been beneficial to the care of our patients and our commitment to using the most appropriate product for each patient and wound being treated.” Now, each of Panhandle
Home Health’s six regions –
Jefferson County, South Berkeley County,
North Berkeley County, Martinsburg, Hedgesville,
and Berkeley Springs – has its own WCC-certified nurse for timely review for wound patients.
Panhandle Home Health is a non-profit 501(c)3 home health agency and a proud partner of United Way of the Eastern Panhandle. This year the agency celebrates 41 years of providing high-quality, in-home health services to residents of Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan Counties. Their staff of licensed and credentialed professionals includes registered nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, a medical social worker, a registered dietician, and certified home health aides. For more information about Panhandle Home Health, please call 304-263-5680 or visit their website at www.PanhandleHomeHealth.org.