Archive for the ‘pressure ulcers’ Category

Top 6 facts you need to know about pressure injuries today

Monday, May 27th, 2019

pressure injuries

Wound care is an exciting specialty that can sometimes prove challenging.

Carole Jakucs

By Carole Jakucs, MSN, RN, PHN

With various wound types and multiple wound care products and treatments available, clinicians strive to stay up to date on the best practices to ensure they are providing their patients with the current standard of care.

Managing pressure injuries is one area of wound care that many wound care professionals encounter regularly, as pressure injuries are pervasive across the healthcare continuum.

Whether you work in home health, acute care or long-term care, below are some of the top facts to know about managing pressure injuries today from Don Wollheim, MD, FAPWCA, WCC, DWC.

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Advances in wound care technology lead to bioprinting and more

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

bioprinting

Printing human skin to heal large wounds might sound like something straight out of science fiction, but patients suffering from chronic wounds and pressure ulcers soon might have access to this treatment.

wound care

By Heather Cygan, BA

Scientists at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina have created the first mobile skin bioprinting system, which will allow bi-layered skin to be printed directly into a wound.

“The unique aspect of this technology is the mobility of the system and the ability to provide on-site management of extensive wounds by scanning and measuring them in order to deposit the cells directly where they are needed to create skin,” Sean Murphy, PhD, a WFIRM assistant professor, said in a news release.

Murphy was the lead author of a paper published earlier this year in Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

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What happened to practicing wound care basics?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

wound care basics

Having been involved in wound care for about 25 years, I have seen many changes in our understanding of wound healing, research evidence and technology.

wound care

By Bill Richlen, PT, WCC, DWC

As I hear my students describe common practices today and the many myths of wound care, I’m led to wonder, “What happened to starting with wound care basics for healing?”

A colleague of mine once stated there are basically two fundamentals to healing wounds: a healthy patient and a healthy wound environment. Once those are accomplished, topical treatments will not make that big of a difference.

However, clinicians often cling to some “holy grail” treatment in the form of a dressing or adjunctive modality that will somehow overcome the need to practice solid, evidence-based wound care.

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Case illustrates importance of clear wound care delegation

Friday, April 12th, 2019

delegation

In the following case, the issue of delegation of wound care was the focus of the case.

wound care

By Nancy J. Brent, MS, JD, RN

A female patient’s doctor ordered home healthcare services after her hospitalization for renal disorders and congestive heart failure. The patient employed a local home healthcare agency to provide skilled nursing care for the patient’s many health problems.

Six months later, the physician discovered his patient had developed four decubitus ulcers, including one on her right hip, which measured 5-1/2 centimeters in diameter and 7-1/2 centimeters deep.

The physician ordered the nurses to clean the wounds regularly and two months after the orders were being carried out, he delegated to the nurses to begin to pack the right hip wound with Betadine gauze.

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Pressure Injuries? (Don’t) Say It Ain’t So!

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

Mounting pressure to call pressure injuries (aka pressure ulcers) something else has caused a stir – and clinicians in wound care are feeling the heat. Find out why.

Pressury Injuries - Don't Say It Ain't So

One of the most basic principles of healing a wound is to determine the cause – and then remove it. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But this is easier said than done, as many wounds have similar characteristics, and we don’t always have all the facts at our disposal in order to pinpoint the cause.

Unfortunately, this process has become further – and unnecessarily – complicated, thanks to increasing pressure (no pun intended) on wound clinicians to name a pressure injury something else. See? We told you it was complicated. Here’s what you need to know.

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Pressure Injury (Ulcer) Staging: More Real-World Answers

Friday, April 15th, 2016

More real-world wound care questions and answers relating to pressure injury staging, including slough, debridement and skin breakdown.

More Real-World Pressure Injuries

 

Can’t get enough of pressure injury staging? Neither can we. That’s why we’re excited to present even more questions and answers about this topic, based on what wound clinicians experience out in the field (versus what we might learn from textbooks or in a classroom).

In our first such post – packed with some awesome pressure injury staging questions from the field – we discussed slough, levels of destruction and debridement. Here, you’ll find out more about pressure injury staging as it relates to abrasions, surgical flaps, skin breakdown due to clothing, and more. So here they are – five more tips for staging pressure injuries, based on real questions from clinicians.

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Wound Care News: National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) announces a change in terminology

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Breaking Wound Care News

The term “pressure injury” replaces “pressure ulcer” in the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Pressure Injury Staging System, according to the NPUAP. The change in terminology more accurately describes pressure injuries to both intact and ulcerated skin. In the previous staging system Stage 1 and Deep Tissue Injury described injured intact skin, while the other stages described open ulcers. This led to confusion because the definitions for each of the stages referred to the injuries as “pressure ulcers”.

In addition to the change in terminology, Arabic numbers are now used in the names of the stages instead of Roman numerals. The term “suspected” has been removed from the Deep Tissue Injury diagnostic label. Additional pressure injury definitions agreed upon at the meeting included Medical Device Related Pressure Injury and Mucosal Membrane Pressure Injury.

CLICK HERE to read the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel’s full press release.

 

 

 

What Stage Is It? Test Your Pressure Injury Staging Skills

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

(updated to reflect the 2016 NPUAP Staging Definitions)

How well do you know your guidelines for staging pressure injuries?  View the slideshow and test yourself!

Note: if you have any difficulties opening the slideshow, CLICK HERE to view it in SlideShare.

Test Your Pressure Injury Staging Skills from Wound Care Education Institute

 

 

Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and Ostomy Management. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see wcei.net.

Dry Skin Alert: Foot Xerosis in Diabetic Patients

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Diabetic wound management requires awareness, including knowing the signs and progression of xerosis – an abnormal dryness of skin.

Xerosis in Diabetic Patients

Patients with diabetes are prone to dry skin, particularly when blood glucose levels are running high. And as a clinician, one of the most common types of skin conditions you will see in your diabetic patients is xerosis, which is an abnormal dryness of the skin. This is just one reason why clinicians should routinely inspect the feet of diabetic patients.

According to research, 82.1% of patients with diabetes had skin with dryness, cracks or fissures, which serves as a predictor of foot lesions. In addition, an unpublished survey of 105 consecutive patients with diabetes revealed that 75% had clinical manifestations of dry skin. This serves as further evidence that xerosis in diabetic patients is a threat to foot ulcers, and the more we know about the condition, the better we can treat and heal our patients.

The Signs

The most common characteristics of xerosis include excessively dry, rough, uneven and cracked skin. Other signs include:

  • Possible raised or uplifted skin edges (scaling), desquamation (flaking), chapping, and pruritus.
  • Excessive dryness and scaling on the heels and feet.
  • Possible fissures (linear cracks in the skin) with hyperkeratotic tissue.

Progression and Patterns

The progression of xerosis follows a defined pattern that begins when the skin becomes dry and rough, with pronounced skin lines. As the condition progresses, you’ll see the development of superficial scaling, with fissuring and erythema. In severe cases, a crisscrossing pattern with superficial scaling is present. The skin becomes less elastic and loses both its flexibility and its ability to withstand trauma, which may result in skin breakdown and subsequent infection.

Causes

A number of conditions contribute to the onset of xerosis in diabetic patients, including the loss of natural moisturizing factors and moisture from the stratum cor­neum and intercellular matrix of the skin. Additionally:

  • Sebaceous and sweat glands normally maintain skin lubrication and control the oil and moisture in the foot, but they become atrophied when autonomic neuropathy occurs.
  • Corneocytes (cells that make up the top layer of epidermis) are aligned parallel to each other in normal skin; xerosis causes structural changes to these cells and disrupts the surface, resulting in a rough epidermal surface.
  • The dryness is due to the redistribution of blood flow in the soles of the feet by persistent and inappropriate dilatation of arteriovenous shunts. This activity diverts blood away from the skin surface. When this occurs in combination with alterations in the elasticity of the skin (due to nonenzymatic glycosylation of structural proteins and glycoproteins), the skin splits, creating portals for bacteria to enter.

Treatment

Once you see initial signs of xerosis in your patients, what should you do? Start by applying an agent to the feet every day in order to maintain skin moisture, such as an emollient lotion or cream. Use moisturizers that contain urea or lactic acid.

  1. Urea works by enhancing the water-binding capacity of the stratum corneum. Long-term treatment with urea has been demonstrated to decrease transepidermal water loss. Urea also is a potent skin humidifier and descaling agent, particularly in 10% concentration.
  2. Lactic acid (in the form of an alpha hydroxy acid) can accelerate softening of the skin, dissolving or peeling the outer layer of the skin to help maintain its capability to hold moisture. Lactic acid in concentrations of 2.5% to 12% is the most common alpha hydroxy acid used for moderate to severe xerosis.
  3. Examples of products with urea or lactic acid include Atrac-Tain Cream, Eucerin 10% Urea Lotion, Lac-Hydrin 12%, and AmLactin Foot Cream Therapy.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid:

  • Products that contain alcohol – because they evaporate, and their drying action compounds the original problem.
  • Petroleum-based products, because they seal the skin surface and prevent what little lubrication is made from evaporating. These products don’t penetrate the surface of the skin and don’t replace skin moisture.

Patient education

As always, part of our job is to continuously educate patients and their family members or caretakers. When it comes to your patients suffering from xerosis, make sure they know to:

  • minimize bathing to no more than once a day (or even every other day)
  • use cool or lukewarm water
  • pat – don’t rub – to dry the skin
  • avoid harsh soaps
  • avoid lotions with dyes or perfumes
  • ensure skin moisturizers are applied appropriately and at the right frequency

What do you think?

Knowing the signs of xerosis and how to treat it is crucial for diabetic patients. Have you had experience with this condition, and are there any specific techniques, treatments or products you find most effective? And what are the biggest challenges you face when it comes to this particular type of wound management? We would love to hear about and learn from your experiences! Please share your stories below.

 

Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and Ostomy Management. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see wcei.net.

News Flash: Document Education or Risk Facing Pressure Ulcer Citations

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Failing to provide and document wound care educational efforts can lead to citations! Most recently, a facility was cited for not providing written documentation to a patient and his family about his Stage II pressure ulcer.

Document Education or Risk Citation

Wound care clinicians love to talk about wounds – preventing, treating and healing them. We love to compare notes, study photographs and learn about new techniques and strategies. But another vital piece of our job involves educating others, whether it be patients, family members or colleagues. Keeping everyone in the loop is essential to achieve the best outcomes, and avoid citations.

What it might look like now

Pressure Ulcer Staging Guide

Click for our FREE Pressure Ulcer Staging Guide

When we say that education must be a part of our pressure ulcer treatment and prevention program, we’re talking about routinely:

  • Providing printed information on the etiology of risk factors
  • Discussing the importance of risk and skin assessments
  • Explaining the role of support surfaces and the importance of positioning
  • Ensuring that each patient has a skin-care program individualized to meet their needs

These components of care are often accomplished during a staff in-service, or at care team meetings that focus on individual patients. But how are our patients and family members being educated on this issue?

Most clinicians would say that it is done by the individual licensed caregiver (often a nurse), as part of their normal daily activities on the unit.  The problem with this approach is that it’s not always documented, and often not very structured.  And this can lead to trouble.

What it must look like now

So what exactly are the expectations when it comes to pressure ulcer education according to today’s standards? Let’s consider what the 2014 International Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers has to say about it.

In the section on implementing the guidelines, it speaks directly to patient consumers and their caregivers, and advises us to work with our healthcare teams and learn about pressure ulcer risk factors (and how this relates to their individual situation).  In order to meet this important objective, health care professionals must provide language appropriate printed materials, e-learning packages, and internet resources for the patient.

And where can you get such materials? Patient and consumer recommendation documents are currently being developed by the Guideline authors (we will let you know when they are available), but until then, one resource is MedlinePlus, where you can find the following patient handouts:

  • How to Care for Pressure Sores
  • Pressure Ulcer
  • Preventing Pressure Ulcers

No education? Hello, citation!

So besides the fact that a comprehensive pressure ulcer education program is crucial for better outcomes, failing to do so can lead to citations. All patient education, topics, methods, and responses must be documented.

Lesson learned?

The standards of care are always changing, and as wound care professionals, it’s critical to keep up with these changes. Do you and your facility currently meet these expectations when it comes to pressure ulcer education? How do you make sure patients and family members are not only being educated properly, but that these efforts are being documented as complete in the medical record? Please leave your thoughts or comments below.