Successful documentation of wound care

By Cheryl Ericson, MS, RN, CCDS, CDIP

Providers are often surprised at how pages upon pages of documentation in a patient’s health record can result in few reportable diagnosis and/or procedure codes, which often fail to capture the complexity of the patient’s condition. However, providers need to be aware of the implications of coding. As healthcare data become increasingly digital through initiatives such as meaningful use, coded data not only impact reimbursement but also are increasingly used to represent the quality of care provided. Here’s a closer look at how documentation and coding work in the context of wound care. (more…)

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Eating better to help manage chronic stress

By Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, and Dana Marie Dillard, MS, HSMI

Like many clinicians, you may experience stress frequently, both on and off the job. Chronic stress can alter your equilibrium (homeostasis), activating physiologic reactive pathways that cause your body to shift its priorities. Physiologic effects of stress may include:

  • slowed digestion
  • delay in reproductive and repair processes
  • priming of survival mechanisms (respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular) for immediate use
  • depletion of the body’s nutrients.


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Understanding the crusting procedure

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.

The crusting procedure produces a dry surface and absorbs moisture from
broken skin through an artificial scab that’s created by using skin barrier powder (stoma powder) and liquid polymer skin barrier. The crusting procedure is most frequently used on denuded peristomal skin to create a dry surface for adherence of an ostomy pouching system while protecting the peristomal skin from effluent and adhesives. Crusting can increase pouching-system wear time, resulting in fewer pouch changes and less disruption to irritated peristomal skin. The crusting procedure can also be used for other denuded partial-thickness weeping wounds caused by moisture. (more…)

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Hidden complications: A case study in peripheral arterial disease

By Pamela Anderson, MS, RN, APN-BC, CCRN, and Terri Townsend, MA, RN, CCRN-CMC, CVRN-BC

Jan Smith, age 59, is admitted to the coronary intensive care unit with an acute inferior myocardial infarction (MI). Recently diagnosed with hypertension and hyperlipidemia, she smokes a pack and a half of cigarettes daily. She reports she has always been healthy and can’t believe she has had a heart attack. (Note: Name is fictitious.)

On physical exam, the cardiologist finds decreased femoral pulses bilaterally and recommends immediate cardiac catheterization. Fortunately, primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is readily available at this hospital. PCI is the preferred reperfusion method when it can be provided by skilled cardiologists in a timely manner. (more…)

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The DIME approach to peristomal skin care

By Catherine R. Ratliff, PhD, APRN-BC, CWOCN, CFCN

It’s estimated that about 70% of the 1 million ostomates in the United States and Canada will experience or have experienced stomal or peristomal complications. Peristomal complications are more common, although stomal complications (for example, retraction, stenosis, and mucocutaneous separation) can often contribute to peristomal problems by making it difficult to obtain a secure pouch seal. This article will help you differentiate types of peristomal complications, including how to prevent and manage them. (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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Clinical Notes: Pressure Injury Prevention, Diabetes, LIV

Incidence density best measure of pressure-ulcer prevention program

According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), incidence density is the best quality measure of pressure-ulcer prevention programs. Pressure-ulcer incidence density is calculated by dividing the number of inpatients who develop a new pressure ulcer by 1,000 patient days. Using the larger denominator of patient days allows fair comparisons between institutions of all sizes. (more…)

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I’m going to conference!

By: Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, CWCMS, DWC, OMS

Years ago, when I first started out in the wound care specialty, the only way to learn about new products and what was going on in the field was to “go to conference” (wound care conference). All year long, planning and excitement continued to build for our big trip. Not going wasn’t an option; our facility, patients, and administrators needed us to attend. If we didn’t, we’d be way behind our competition in regard to cutting-edge, hot-off-the-press wound care treatments and techniques.

Besides being a forum for displaying new wound care products, conference is an opportunity to network, to see what others are doing—what’s working and what isn’t— and to hear firsthand from researchers. (more…)

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Understanding therapeutic support surfaces

By Rosalyn S. Jordan, BSN, RN, MSc, CWOCN, WCC, and Sandra Phipps, BSN, RN, MBA, WCC

Pressure-ulcer prevention and management guidelines recommend support-surface therapy to help prevent and treat pressure ulcers. Support surfaces include pads, mattresses, and cushions that redistribute pressure. Full cushions and cushion pads are considered therapeutic support surfaces if used to redistribute a patient’s pressure in a chair or wheelchair.

The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) defines support surfaces as “specialized devices for pressure redistribution designed for the management of tissue loads, microclimate, and/or other therapeutic functions.” These surfaces address the mechanical forces associated with skin and tissue injury, such as pressure, shear, friction, and excess moisture and heat. (See Clearing up the confusion.) (more…)

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Clinician Resources: Patient Safety, Ostomy, Wound Management

This issue’s resources include patient tools and new guidelines.

Improving patient safety

Research suggests that adverse events affect patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) more frequently, are commonly caused by communication problems, and are more likely to result in serious harm compared to adverse events affecting English-speaking patients. Your hospital can take steps to reduce risks of adverse events for patients with LEP with “Improving patient safety systems for patients with limited english proficiency: a guide for hospitals,” from The Disparities Solutions Center, Mongan Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Abt Associates, Cambridge, Massachusetts. (more…)

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