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Immobility as the root cause of pressure ulcers

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN

Many factors can contribute to the formation of a pressure ulcer, but it’s rare that one develops in an active, mobile patient. As the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel 2014 guidelines state, “Pressure ulcers cannot form without loading, or pressure on the tissue. Extended periods of lying or sitting on a particular body part and failure to redistribute the pressure can lead to ischemia and therefore tissue damage.” Thus, immobility is frequently the root cause of pressure ulcer development. (more…)

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Helping patients with lower-extremity disease benefit from exercise

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN

Research has shown that exercise can help ease symptoms in patients with arterial insufficiency, venous insufficiency, neuropathic disease, or a combination of these conditions. Here’s what you need to know to ensure your patients reap the most benefits from exercise. (more…)

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Using maggots in wound care: Part 2

Maggots Wound Care

By Ronald A. Sherman, MD; Sharon Mendez, RN, CWS; and Catherine McMillan, BA

Note From the Editor: This is the second of two articles on maggot therapy. The first article appeared in our July/August 2014 issue, Read part 1 here.

Whether your practice is an acute-care setting, a clinic, home care, or elsewhere, maggot debridement therapy (MDT) can prove to be a useful tool in wound care. But setting up any new program can meet resistance—and if you seek to establish a maggot therapy program, expect to meet significant resistance. By arming yourself in advance, you can achieve your goal more easily. This article covers all the bases to help you get your maggot therapy program off the ground. (more…)

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Using maggots in wound care: Part 1

maggots in wound care

By: Ronald A. Sherman, MD; Sharon Mendez, RN, CWS; and Catherine McMillan, BA

Maggot therapy is the controlled, therapeutic application of maggots to a wound. Simple to use, it provides rapid, precise, safe, and powerful debridement. Many wound care professionals don’t provide maggot therapy (also called wound myiasis) because they lack training. But having maggot therapy technology available for patients adds to your capabilities as a wound care provider. (more…)

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What is a comprehensive risk assessment?

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN

Prevention of pressure ulcers and skin breakdown begins with a comprehensive risk assessment. Most providers use a skin risk assessment tool, such as the Braden or Norton scale. While these tools have been validated to predict pressure ulcer development, their use alone isn’t considered a comprehensive assessment, and frequently the individual risk factors they identify aren’t carried through to the plan of care. (more…)

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2014 Journal: March April Vol. 3 No. 2

Wound Care Advisor Journal 2014 Vol3 No2

Becoming a wound care diplomat

The Rolling Stones may have said it best when they sang, “You can’t always get what you want,” a sentiment that also applies to wound care. A common frustration among certified wound care clinicians is working with other clinicians who have limited current wound care education and knowledge. This situation worsens when these clinicians are making treatment recommendations or writing treatment orders not based on current wound-healing principles or standards of care.

Frequently, these same clinicians seem uninterested in listening to what you say and aren’t receptive to treatment suggestions. This is where your skills of diplomacy will make all the difference. Rarely is it a simple matter of sharing your expertise to change a person’s mind. Lack of training and knowledge of current best practices may be part of the reason for resistance. “We’ve always done it that way” or “The rep told me” are common statements you might hear.

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“This is how we’ve always done it” isn’t good enough

Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, CWCMS, DWC, OMS Have you ever faced responsibility for a patient-care situation you learned about in school but had yet to encounter in the real world? With so many different health conditions and constant advancements in medical care, it’s not surprising that this happens frequently to many clinicians. The first and easiest way for most…

Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Humanitarian City

A Saudi rehabilitation facility fights pressure ulcers

By Joanne Aspiras Jovero, BSEd, BSN, RN; Hussam Al-Nusair, MSc Critical Care, ANP, RN; and Marilou Manarang, BSN, RN A common problem in long-term care facilities, pressure ulcers are linked to prolonged hospitalization, pain, social isolation, sepsis, and death. This article explains how a Middle East rehabilitation facility battles pressure ulcers with the latest evidence-based practices, continual staff education, and…

Nurse Work Life Balance

Achieving a work-life balance

By Julie Boertje, MS, RN, LMFT, QMRP, and Liz Ferron, MSW, LICSW Almost everyone agrees that achieving a work-life balance is a good thing. Without it, we risk long-term negative effects on our physical and mental health, our relationships, and our work performance. But many clinicians have a hard time achieving this balance due to job demands, erratic work schedules,…


Becoming a wound care diplomat

By Bill Richlen, PT, WCC, CWS, DWC, and Denise Stetter, PT, WCC, DCCT The Rolling Stones may have said it best when they sang, “You can’t always get what you want,” a sentiment that also applies to wound care. A common frustration among certified wound care clinicians is working with other clinicians who have limited current wound care education and…


Clinical Notes: Low BMD, CKD, hypoglycemia, HBOT

Low BMD common after ostomy Low bone mineral density (BMD) is common in patients with inflammatory bowel disease who have a stoma placed, according to “Frequency, risk factors, and adverse sequelae of bone loss in patients with ostomy for inflammatory bowel diseases,” published in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.


Clinician Resources: Intl Ostomy Assoc., Substance Use Disorder

Take a few minutes to check out this potpourri of resources. International Ostomy Association The International Ostomy Association is an association of regional ostomy associations that is committed to improving the lives of ostomates. Resources on the association’s website include: a variety of discussion groups information for patients list of helpful links. The site also provides contact information for the…

safe negative-pressure wound therapy

Guidelines for safe negative-pressure wound therapy

By Ron Rock MSN, RN, ACNS-BC 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…

how to assess wound exudate

How to assess wound exudate

By Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS Each issue, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice. Exudate (drainage), a liquid produced by the body in response to tissue damage, is present in wounds as they heal. It consists of fluid that has leaked out of blood vessels and closely resembles blood…


It takes a village: Leading a wound team

By Jennifer Oakley, BS, RN, WCC, DWC, OMS I used to think I could do it alone. I took the wound care certification course, passed the certification exam, and took all of my new knowledge—and my new WCC credential—back to the long-term care facility where I worked. I was ready to change the world. It didn’t take me long to…

hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Medicare reimbursement for hyperbaric oxygen therapy

By Carrie Carls, BSN, RN, CWOCN, CHRN, and Sherry Clayton, RHIA In an atmosphere of changing reimbursement, it’s important to understand indications and utilization guidelines for healthcare services. Otherwise, facilities won’t receive appropriate reimbursement for provided services. This article focuses on Medicare reimbursement for hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). (See What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?) Indications and documentation requirements


Turning programs hinder a good night’s sleep

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN We’ve all experienced how a bad night’s sleep can affect our mood and ability to function the next day. Now imagine you’re a patient who has a pressure ulcer, most likely secondary to a declining disease state, and you’re being awakened and manipulated every 2 hours or in some cases hourly. How…

2014 Journal: March April Vol. 3 No. 2
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Turning programs hinder a good night’s sleep

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN

We’ve all experienced how a bad night’s sleep can affect our mood and ability to function the next day. Now imagine you’re a patient who has a pressure ulcer, most likely secondary to a declining disease state, and you’re being awakened and manipulated every 2 hours or in some cases hourly. How is your body supposed to recover without adequate sleep? (more…)

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Avoid surprises when connecting between care settings

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN

As wound care clinicians, we know that an interdisciplinary, holistic approach to prevention and management of a wound is crucial to positive outcomes, no matter where the patient is being seen. Yet too often when a patient transfers from one care setting to another, the only wound information that’s communicated is the current topical treatment. Most transfer forms only include generic spaces for “any skin concerns” and “treatments,” with no prompts for obtaining additional information. In fact, clinicians in many care settings frequently report they had no idea the patient had a wound until he or she was admitted.

Here’s how you can get the information you need to best care for the patient being transferred. (more…)

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Compression therapy for chronic venous insufficiency, lower-leg ulcers, and secondary lymphedema

By Nancy Chatham, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, CCNS, CWOCN, CWS, and Lori Thomas, MS, OTR/L, CLT-LANA

An estimated 7 million people in the United States have venous disease, which can cause leg edema and ulcers. Approximately 2 to 3 million Americans suffer from secondary lymphedema. Marked by abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid in the interstitium, secondary lymphedema eventually can cause fibrosis and other tissue and skin changes. (more…)

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What’s causing your patient’s lower-extremity redness?

patient lower extremity redness

By Robyn Bjork, MPT, CWS, WCC, CLT-LANA

The ability to understand or “read” lower-extremity redness in your patient is essential to determining its cause and providing effective treatment. Redness can occur in multiple conditions—hemosiderin staining, lipodermatosclerosis, venous dermatitis, chronic inflammation, cellulitis, and dependent rubor. This article provides clues to help you differentiate these conditions and identify the specific cause of your patient’s lower-extremity redness. (more…)

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Apply QAPI to reduce pressure ulcer rates

By Jeri Lundgren, BSN, RN, PHN, CWS, CWCN

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires nursing homes to have an acceptable Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) plan within a year after the start of the QAPI regulation. While the implementation of this regulation may be a year out, now is the time to start applying its principles. Reducing pressure ulcer rates is a great program to target for a QAPI plan.

A team approach

If you decide to use pressure ulcers as your QAPI project, don’t take on your entire program at once. Break the program down into system subsets (for example, admission process, prevention program, and weekly rounds). Determining the status of your program in each subset—completed, needs improvement, or not completed—can help you prioritize which areas to target. It’s important you have support from leadership for your efforts.

I’ll use the example of the admission phase (ensuring that within the first 24 hours, skin and risk concerns are identified and a temporary plan of care is implemented) to illustrate a QAPI project. To address this area, a team was created, including representation from staff members involved with the admission process. The team then used the problem-solving model Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) to examine the process.

The first step in the PDSA cycle is to Plan. During this step, you:

• evaluate and analyze the current process to determine baseline data, which are used to measure progress
• identify system performance gaps
• determine the root cause of the performance gaps
• develop an action plan that identifies the goals, steps, responsible staff, and target dates.

In our example, the team determined that within the first 24 hours, skin inspections were being completed only 10% of the time. The root-cause analysis revealed that the admission nurses didn’t feel competent to document identified pressure ulcers or skin concerns, so they deferred it until the wound nurse was available. The team’s action plan included the following:

• Develop and educate all the facility nurses on how to complete and accurately document a skin inspection.
• Develop and implement a competency evaluation to assess the nurse’s ability to apply the knowledge at the bedside.
• Develop an ongoing plan to ensure all nurses receive this education during orientation and yearly thereafter.

The team also set the following goal:
By the end of the next quarter, 100% of admitted patients will have an accurate skin inspection completed within 24 hours of admission.

The second step of the PDSA cycle is Do. During this step, you implement and execute the plan, while documenting your observations and recording data.

In our example, the “Do” was to:
• develop and provide the skin inspection education and bedside competency evaluations
• develop an evaluation and tracking
• add the education to the orientation program
• add the education to the staff development calendar to be offered yearly.

The third step of the PDSA cycle is to Study: In this phase, you:
• reevaluate and analyze the system
• compare the results with the baseline data and predictions
• summarize what was learned and accomplished and what needs to be improved
• determine if another PDSA cycle is
necessary to continue to improve the system.

Once all staff had been properly educated and competency testing completed, an analysis of the rate and accuracy of the admission skin inspections done within 24 hours of admission was completed. It was found that 100% of the patients admitted had a complete skin inspection done within 24 hours. However, not all the nurses could accurately stage pressure ulcers, so it was determined that the system needed improvement to ensure accurate assessments.

The last step of the PDSA cycle is to Act. In this step, you:
• determine what changes need to be made
• modify the plan to continue to improve the system
• repeat the PDSA cycle as necessary.

In our example, the team determined the nurses needed more guidance and education on staging of pressure ulcers. Therefore, a new PDSA cycle was set to ensure the nurses are competent in this area.

Benefits for staff and patients

It may be difficult to start the QAPI project and at times the process may be stressful, but keep in mind that a successful pressure ulcer QAPI project can improve not only the quality of life and care of your patients but also morale and team building for your staff. n

Jeri Lundgren is director of clinical services at Pathway Health in Minnesota. She has beenspecializing in wound prevention and management since 1990.


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