In this 90-second video, WCEI co-founder Nancy Morgan answers a common measurement question: how do you measure wound depth when there’s slough or eschar in the way?
Are you ready, wound detectives, to tackle a new case? This time, we’re learning how to spot the clues that reveal infection. Remember, the wound will tell us what we need to know, we just have to pay careful attention and know what to look for. After all, treatment depends primarily on our clinical assessment (and then a wound culture, if indicated). Sharpen up those investigative skills, and let’s get to work.
How often are wounds assessed at your facility? Do you have any best practices to share? Tell us in the comments below.
To learn more wound care tips, view the webinar “Insider Secrets to Wound Care” for FREE with using the code WCMINUTE.
Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and OstomyManagement. 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.
Understanding the structural differences between light and dark skin is crucial for clinicians, and this free Wild on Wounds webinar will help – plus you’ll get awesome tips for assessing skin of color.
Chances are that when you studied skin assessment in US textbooks, most of the case studies or featured photos involved patients with lighter skin tones – common to people of European decent. Historically (and unfortunately), there’s been a lack of research, guidelines and consistency in treating skin of color.
This lack of diversity in educational resources is not only a disservice to clinicians and patients, it can be downright dangerous. For example, without exposure to proper techniques, you might not recognize a Stage I pressure ulcer in a darker-skinned patient, because non-blanchable erythema (redness) is harder to see.
As our patient population grows increasingly diverse, it is absolutely essential that bedside clinicians understand how skin differs among people of various ethnic and racial backgrounds, and what that means in wound assessment.
The truth of the matter is that most of us have learned whatever we can about treating skin of color from our own experiences in the field. This is why WCEI Co-founder and Clinical Instructor
Nancy Morgan addressed this topic in her Wild on Wounds (WOW) 2015 National Conference presentation, “How to: Skin of Color.”
Now offered as an on-demand webinar, Morgan discusses the specific characteristics of skin of color, and how clinical conditions present differently in highly pigmented (versus lighter) skin. You can hear her entire presentation – and view it for free – with a special coupon code (listed below).
Skin color is the result of melanin – a brown pigment. The purpose of melanin is to protect the skin by absorbing harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. As we encounter UV rays, special cells called melanocytes produce additional melanin.
You may be surprised to learn that there’s no difference in the number of melanocytes between skin types. The palest and the darkest person will, on average, have the same number of these cells in their skin. However, the production and concentration of melanin in the epidermis (top layer of skin) is double in darker skin.
Does skin tone matter?
There are many skin tone classification scales used in the field, created mostly by and for dermatologists. As Morgan states in her presentation, these scales aren’t helpful when it comes to wound care. “We have to do a very thorough visual inspection of the skin, and we have to talk to the patient about his or her baseline skin color.”
Besides exploring the basics of skin color and tone, you’ll find out more from Morgan’s webinar, including:
Are you ready to learn more about this topic and better address the wound care needs of your patients with dark skin? Click here and use the code BLOG to access this 60-minute recording, which qualifies for an education credit.
We’d love to know about your clinical experiences with skin of color: did you receive any official training regarding this topic, or have you mostly learned from your own personal experiences? Is your facility proactive in making sure clinicians are knowledgeable in how skin tone and color effect proper wound assessment? Tell us about your observations and experiences by leaving your comments below.
Wild on Wounds℠ (WOW) is the national wound conference designed for healthcare professionals that are interested in enhancing their knowledge in skin and wound management. Clinicians come from all over the US to see, touch and participate in our hands-on workshops. They also learn about all the new and advanced wound care treatments and technologies to better help care for their patients. For more information visit www.woundseminar.com
Wound care clinicians need to know about the different types of exudate – and how much is present – for successful wound treatment and healing.
Ooze. Pus. Secretion. The drainage that seeps out of wounds can be called many things, but as wound care clinicians know, the technical term is exudate. This liquid, which is produced by the body in response to tissue damage, can tell us what we need to know about the wound. And while we want wounds to be moist, we don’t want them to be overly moist. Finding that balance can sometimes be a bit tricky – which is why it’s so important to know all about exudate.
First, let’s start with the types of exudate we most commonly see in our patients’ wounds. They are:
Besides knowing the different types of exudate, you also need to be aware of the amount present in your patients’ wounds. This can be key for proper assessment, and help you choose the best wound treatment. The different exudate levels include:
Always take into account the amount of exudate when selecting the dressing. We want to promote moist wound healing, but with no adverse effects from too much moisture, such as maceration of the periwound.
When it comes to documenting exudate, do you see one type being identified more than others – like the well-known serosanguineous? And what about the amount of drainage – do you use the terms listed above, or does your clinic use percentages instead? We would love to hear how your facility typically documents exudate, and if you encounter any specific challenges or successes with identifying or treating wounds based on exudate. Please leave your comments 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.
WCEI co-founder Nancy Morgan RN rocked Philadelphia with a One Day Wound Assessment Seminar sponsored by Burman’s Medical. The room was packed with nurses, therapists and physicians from various settings including long term care, acute care hospitals, home health care , wound clinics, Insurance Companies and a few Hyperbaric Wound Centers.
Nancy covered a lot of information on Wound Assessment including Staging of wounds, types of wounds and diabetic wounds. The attendees participated and became “CSI Investigators” for the morning. Nancy engaged with the audience throughout the day by educating them about the various types of wounds and causes. She quizzed them throughout the session on the various types of wounds. The audience participated enthusiastically. Often you could hear laughter as Nancy injected her humor into the Philadelphia crowd.
WCEI offers one-day wound care courses throughout the USA year long. Below you will find the list of scheduled dates and locations for our one-day wound care classes. In addition, for groups or organizations that want to host their own wound care course, we will come to you at the location of your choice.
For more information about a particular wound care course on a specific date at a specific location, please click on any of the underlined dates listed below. Once you have selected a date, click the “Click here to Register” or appropriate registration link to register for the course.
Please click HERE to view the upcoming WCEI Skin & Wound Management Courses.
So you think your assessment skills are top notch? You say you can differentiate the types of wounds you encounter daily? What about the causes of these wounds?
As a wound care certified nurse, therapist, or physician, we should be looking at more than just the wound. Understanding the cause of the wound may just lead to the answer of how to treat the wound. I know that sounds like a novel idea but how often does the cause just keep chronically repeat itself ?
A combination of compliance and repetitive cause may be an issue but we as professionals need to look past the wound and pay attention to the cause. Eliminating the cause or at least minimizing the effects of causation can make a difference in the long term result of healing the wound.
As always, fine tuning your wound assessment skills is a good idea.
If you would like to take your assessment skills to the next level, consider becoming Wound Care Certified and utilize that knowledge to better care for your patients.