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Clinical Notes: diabetes, LMW heparin, dressings, lymphedema

Factors affecting medication adherence in patients with diabetes identified

Factors associated with better adherence to antidiabetic medications taken by patients with diabetes include older age, male sex, higher education, higher income, use of mail-order vs. retail pharmacies, primary care vs. nonendocrinology specialist prescribers, higher daily total pill burden, and lower out-of-pocket costs. (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 you need to know about hydrogel dressings

hydrogel dressings

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.

Description

Hydrated polymer (hydrogel) dressings, originally developed in the 1950s, contain 90% water in a gel base, which helps regulate fluid exchange from the wound surface. Hydrogel dressing are usually clear or translucent and vary in viscosity or thickness. They’re available in three forms: (more…)

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Jim Nabors Would Just Cry

jim nabors

by Dr. Michael Miller

For those of you not as familiar with the Hoosier State as you should be, I used to think it was essentially paradise. Jim Nabors of Gomer Pyle fame is our ubiquitous, tuneful icon with his always well-received “Back Home in Indiana” as a mantra to that source of pride.  Our former Governor “My Man” Mitch Daniels was a genius who, using a combination of intelligence, common sense and the persuasive powers of a midwest Svengali, created an economic model that our neighbors can only lust after. Our medicolegal climate is among the best in the US and well it should be. However, while there are some extraordinary caregivers and facilities here, a recent US News and World Report curiously showed that almost none of our hospitals made their “Best of” lists in any category. That is not to say there is bad care but to not have a single facility in an entire state even achieve an honorable mention gives one pause to reflect. The State newspapers were notoriously quiet on this concerning fact despite their trumpeting of who does what well, when and where. (more…)

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Breaking silos: Effective wound healing means treatment across the continuum

Around 6.5 million patients in the U.S. suffer from chronic wounds, such as pressure injuries or ulcers. Treatment costs $25 billion each year, representing a sizable and growing problem. Despite the wide impact of chronic wounds, it’s rare to see specialized, effective wound care delivered across the care continuum.

A chronic non-healing wound is a surrogate marker for illness. These patients require holistic management of their co-morbidities and continuity across care settings.

Despite this, a great deal of emphasis has been placed on treating wounds as singular events, managed topically with expensive dressings and support surfaces. This is only a small part of wound healing.

As a physician focused solely on wound care, I have learned that we must shift the focus from simply treating the wound to treating the wounded patient. The impact in the post-acute care setting in particular is worthy of evaluation and discussion, as up to 29% of patients in long-term care facilities will experience a pressure ulcer, posing serious legal, financial, and staffing implications.

For those providers working outside long-term care, there is little understanding of challenges facing LTC providers. Acute providers do not often ask, for example, how are my LTC partners reimbursed? How are they staffed? What are the requirements and regulatory pressures they face? Asking these questions would facilitate a more productive dialogue with a focus on collaborative prevention, rather than waiting until a chronic wound occurs in the LTC setting.

Creating an integrated wound care community

To address the needs of the present and growing population of patients with chronic wounds, Healogics developed an integrated wound care community model, to coordinate the wound healing process across all care settings. The program utilizes Healogics Specialty Physicians, a subspecialty group of physicians and providers with extensive training solely focused on wound care.

HSPs provide expert inpatient consultation and ensure safe transition of patients out of the hospital into the appropriate care setting. Because HSPs see the patient regardless of post-discharge venue, patients receive the same quality of care whether they are going home, to a skilled-nursing, assisted living, or LTC setting. Because chronic wounds are surrogate markers for illness, we have realized it’s essential to have an integrated, multi-setting, and multi-disciplinary process to treat the patient and their co-morbidities.

Data collected at a pilot IWCC site in the Midwestern U.S. from 2014 to 2016 revealed very positive trends for chronic wound patients. In the acute care setting, the average length of stay decreased from 9.41 days to 5.64 days, and total cost of care per patient was reduced from $10,670 to $7,248.

We’re excited by these promising results, which were revealed at the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair Conference last December. We look forward to refining and expanding the model by helping our partners in acute and LTC settings standardize their practices, use evidence-based clinical guidelines, mobilize technologies and processes, and pay critical attention to patient safety and value-based outcomes.

When it comes to wound healing, no venue of care should operate alone—an integrated solution that creates continuity for the patient is critical. There are four things LTC facilities can do to break down the silos:

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Managing chronic venous leg ulcers — what’s the latest evidence?

Managing chronic venous leg ulcers — what’s the latest evidence?

Chronic venous leg ulcers (CVLUs) affect nearly 2.2 million Americans annually, including an estimated 3.6% of people over the age of 65. Given that CVLU risk increases with age, the global incidence is predicted to escalate dramatically because of the growing population of older adults. Annual CVLU treatment-related costs to the U.S. healthcare system alone are upwards of $3.5 billion, which are directly related to long healing times and recurrence rates of over 50%.

CVLUs are not only challenging and costly to treat, but the associated morbidity significantly reduces quality of life. That makes it critical for clinicians to choose evidence-based treatment strategies to achieve maximum healing outcomes and minimize recurrence rates of these common debilitating conditions. These strategies, which include compression therapy, specialized dressings, topical and oral medications, and surgery, are used to reduce edema, facilitate healing, and avert recurrence. (more…)

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Skin substitutes: Understanding product differences

Skin substitutes (also called tissuebased products and dermal replacements) are a boon to chronic wound management when traditional therapies have failed. When selecting skin substitutes for their formularies, wound care professionals have many product options—and many decisions to make.

Repair of skin defects has been a pressing concern for centuries. As early as the 15th century BC, Egyptian physicians chronicled procedures and herbal treatments to heal wounds, including xenografts (skin from another species). The practice of applying allografts (human cadaver skin) to wounds was first documented in 1503. In 1871, autologous skin grafting (skin harvested from the the person with the wound) was tried. Next came epithelial- cell seeding, which involves scraping off the superficial epithelium of healthy skin and transplanting the cells onto the wound. (more…)

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Instill instead: Negative pressure wound therapy with instillation for complex wounds

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) uses negative pressure to draw wound edges together, remove edema and infectious material, and promote perfusion and granulation tissue development. The tissue stretch and compression created by negative pressure during NPWT promotes tissue perfusion and granulation tissue development through angiogenesis, cellular proliferation, fibroblast migration, increased production of wound healing proteins, and reduction of wound area. NPWT has been used to improve healing in a variety of wounds, including traumatic injuries, surgical wounds, pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, and venous stasis ulcers. (more…)

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Clinical Notes: biofilm, bariatric surgery, statins and more

Management of biofilm recommendations

The Journal of Wound Care has published Recommendations for the management of biofilm: a consensus document,” developed through the Italian Nursing Wound Healing Society.

The panel that created the document identified 10 interventions strongly recommended for clinical practice; however, panel members noted that, “there is a paucity of reliable, well-conducted clinical trials which have produced clear evidence related to the effects of biofilm presence.” (more…)

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2016 Journal: January – February Vol. 5 No. 1

Top 10 outpatient reimbursement questions

At the 2015 Wild on Wounds conference, the interactive workshop “Are You Ready for an Outpatient Reimbursement Challenge?” featured a lively discussion among participants about 25 real-life reimbursement scenarios. Here are the top 10 questions the attendees asked, with the answers I provided.

Q Why is it necessary for qualified healthcare professionals (QHPs) such as physicians, podiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and clinical nurse specialists to identify the place of service where they provide wound care services and to correctly state the place of service on their claim forms?

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Buzz Report: Latest trends, Part 1

We all lead busy lives, with demanding work schedules and home responsibilities that can thwart our best intentions. Although we know it’s our responsibility to stay abreast of changes in our field, we may feel overwhelmed when we try to make that happen. Keeping clinicians up-to-date on clinical knowledge is one of the main goals of the Wild On Wounds…

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Case study: Peristomal pyoderma gangrenosum

As a wound care specialist, you have learned about many skin conditions, some so unusual and rare that you probably thought you would never observe them. I’ve been a nurse for 38 years, with the last 10 years in wound care, and that’s certainly what I thought. But I was wrong. Let me tell you about my challenging patient with…

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Clincal Notes: Analysis, Osteomyelitis, sickle cell, maggot

Value of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in wound care “Systematic reviews and meta-analyses—literature-based recommendations for evaluating strengths, weaknesses, and clinical value,” in Ostomy Wound Management, discusses evidence-based practice and how systematic reviews (SRs) and meta-analyses (MAs) can help improve management of wound care patients. The authors of the article explain evidence-based practice and provide useful definitions for key terms. They…

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Clinician Resources: Ulcer Prevention, CAUTI, Negative Bacteria

Start the New Year off right by checking out these resources. Pressure ulcer prevention education Access the following education resources from Wounds International: The webinar “Real-world solutions for pressure ulcer prevention: Optimising the role of support surfaces” includes: • an overview of the issue of pressure ulcers • what to consider when choosing a support surface • how to operationalize…

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Don’t go it alone

A fundamental rule of wound care is to treat the “whole” patient, not just the “hole” in the patient. To do this, we need to focus on a holistic approach to healing, which means evaluating everything that’s going on with the patient—from nutrition, underlying diseases, and medications to activity level, social interactions, and even sleep patterns. We know that as…

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Empowering patients to play an active role in pressure ulcer prevention

Developing a pressure ulcer can cause the patient pain, lead to social isolation, result in reduced mobility, and can even be fatal. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, estimated costs for each pressure ulcer range from $37,800 to $70,000, and the total annual cost of pressure ulcers in the United States is an estimated $11 billion. Nurses…

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Medications and wound healing

Each issue, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice. Here are examples of medications that can affect wound healing. Assessment and care planning for wound healing should include a thorough review of the individual’s current medications to identify those that may affect healing outcomes. Clinicians must then weigh the risks and benefits of continuing…

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Pros Cons Hydrocolloid Foot Ulcers

Pros and cons of hydrocolloid dressings for diabetic foot ulcers

Diabetic foot ulcers stem from multiple factors, including peripheral neuropathy, high plantar pressures, decreased vascularity, and impaired wound healing. Contributing significantly to morbidity, they may cause limb loss and death. (See Foot ulcers and diabetes.) Initially, hydrocolloid dressings were developed to function as part of the stomal flange. Based on their success in protecting peristomal skin, they were introduced gradually…

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Restorative nursing programs help prevent pressure ulcers

Immobility affects all our body systems, including our skin. According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, many contributing factors are associated with the formation of a pressure ulcer, with impaired mobility leading the list. So what can clinicians do to prevent harm caused by immobility? One often-overlooked strategy is a restorative nursing program. (See About restorative nursing.) Moving up…

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The power of the positive

Being positive in a negative situation is not naïve. It’s leadership. — Ralph S. Marston, Jr., author and publisher of The Daily Motivator website Clinicians may encounter many challenges and stressors in the workplace—long hours, rotating shifts, inadequate staffing, poor teamwork, and pressure to achieve higher performance levels in an emotionally and physically demanding field. But hope exists. Positive psychology…

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Top 10 outpatient reimbursement questions

  At the 2015 Wild on Wounds conference, the interactive workshop “Are You Ready for an Outpatient Reimbursement Challenge?” featured a lively discussion among participants about 25 real-life reimbursement scenarios. Here are the top 10 questions the attendees asked, with the answers I provided. Q Why is it necessary for qualified healthcare professionals (QHPs) such as physicians, podiatrists, nurse practitioners,…

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2016 Journal: January – February Vol. 5 No. 1

Click here to access the digital edition

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Understanding radiation dermatitis

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1.6 million new cases of cancer will have been diagnosed in the United States in 2015. During the course of their disease, most cancer patients receive radiation therapy.

Delivering high energy in the form of waves or particles, radiation therapy alters the DNA of cancer cells, causing their death. Radiation can be administered either externally or internally (through materials placed into the body). It’s given in fraction doses, with the total recommended dose divided into daily amounts. Treatment, including the total dose, is determined on an individual basis.

Although improvements have been made in delivery of radiation therapy, approximately 95% of patients who receive it experience a skin reaction. What’s more, radiation therapy commonly is given concurrently with chemotherapy or targeted therapy to improve survival, which increases the toxicity risk. (more…)

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Case study: Maggots help heal a difficult wound

Using maggots to treat wounds dates back to 1931 in this country. Until the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s, maggots were used routinely. In the 1980s, interest in them revived due to the increasing emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

At Select Specialty Hospital Houston in Texas, we recently decided to try maggot therapy for a patient with a particularly difficult wound. In this case study, we share our experience. (more…)

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