Posts Tagged ‘Wound Care Webinar’

Wound Assessment: Skin of Many Colors

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

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.

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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.

Learning starts here

Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS, WCEI Co-founder/ Clinical Instructor

Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS, WCEI Co-founder/ Clinical Instructor

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).

What makes skin darker?

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.”

More webinar highlights

Besides exploring the basics of skin color and tone, you’ll find out more from Morgan’s webinar, including:

  • Skin conditions more common in darker skin, such as hyperpigmentation, keloid scarring, and xerosis.
  • Useful tips for performing a holistic assessment of a patient with dark skin.
  • Why some clinical conditions – such as sDTI, erythema or cyanosis – can be much more difficult to pick up in skin of color.
  • How other conditions, such as hemosiderin staining, may appear very different than they would in a patient with lighter skin.

Get your free webinarFree Webinar - Skin of Color

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.

More thoughts?

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

Essential Steps for Skin Tear Prevention

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Skin tears are a common condition for the patients we care for, which is why it’s so important for clinicians to know who is at risk, and what can be done to minimize them. 

Skin Tear Prevention

Painful. Disfiguring. Traumatic. Skin tears are all of these things, plus they can lead to further complications and serious infections. Unfortunately, they also happen to be a very common condition for the patients we care for. In fact, an estimated 1.5 million skin tears occur each year – and that’s just among institutionalized adults.

In addition to causing pain and discomfort, skin tears can be difficult to treat, and are a direct reflection of the quality of care delivered at our facilities. This is why it is imperative for clinicians to know who is at risk for skin tears, and what we can do to prevent them from happening.

Who is at risk?

Although skin tears can occur among all ages, the youngest and oldest patients are at the highest risk. This is due to the structure of both immature and aging skin. In addition, those who are dependent on caregivers for daily activities are particularly vulnerable, since they are regularly positioned and transferred for such things as bathing and dressing. Others who are higher at risk include:

  • Older adults who ambulate independently
  • Those who are critically ill or have multiple risk factors
  • People with a history of skin tears
  • Anyone with impaired mobility
  • Those with sensory or cognitive deficits
  • Patients with visible changes in the skin such as edema, dry skin or purpura
  • Patients on four or more regularly prescribed medications
  • Patients on specific types of medications, including analgesics, antidepressants, anticoagulants, and steroids
  • People who are agitated and combative – they are more likely to bump into objects
  • Those with cardiac, pulmonary or vascular disorders

Skin tear prevention

The truth is that skin tears are not completely preventable. Since part of our job is to support our patients’ independence and improve their quality of life, at some point or another, skins tears will occur. The good news is that, as caregivers, there are things we can do to keep them at a minimum.

Improve patient environments

A patient’s environment can be modified in simple ways that can make a big difference when it comes to skin tear prevention. For instance, you can make sure there is adequate lighting in your patient’s room or living space. Seniors, for example, typically need more light in order to see clearly and avoid accidents. Next, pad furniture corners and other objects that may cause blunt force trauma when bumped, and remove throw rugs that may buckle or slip.  In addition, ensure that the patient is not wearing rings or other jewelry that can snag the skin.

Care for skin properly

Proper skin care can can go a long way in preventing tears. Skin is better able to resist tearing when it’s well-nourished and hydrated, which means nutrition plays a key role. Therefore, consult with a dietitian about the patient’s diet, and make sure they are receiving adequate fluids.

Frequent baths can dry out the skin, which increases the likelihood of skin tears. This can be a problem when facility regulations mandate that patients must have daily or weekly full baths.  If you find that frequent bathing is contributing to dry skin, adjust the full-bath schedule to twice a week, with spot baths in between.  Also, it’s important that when administering a bath, you:

  • Use lukewarm water (not hot)
  • Use soapless, pH-balanced solutions with no rinse or emollient soap
  • Pat the skin dry – do not rub

To keep the skin hydrated following a bath, apply a moisturizing agent. The stratum corneum – or outermost layer of the skin – needs at least 10% moisture. Moisturizers should be applied while the skin is still damp (not completely dry and not soaking wet) to trap that moisture.

There are three types of moisturizers:

  • Humectants promote the retention of moisture, replacing the oils in the skin
  • Occlusives provide a layer of oil on the skin surface, slowing water loss
  • Emollients soften and spread easily on the skin.

A humectant will pull the moisture up from the dermis into the epidermis to help keep skin intact (it’ll even pull moisture out of the air in the room). But humectants need to be coupled with an occlusive product to trap the moisture. In other words, you need to add a layer of oil on the skin’s surface to slow down evaporation.

Meanwhile, we want our skin to be able to slide, right? And that’s the role of emollients. They make the stratum corneum smooth and less susceptible to friction, which can create that skin tear.

More strategies for prevention are to cover fragile skin with long sleeves, pants and knee-high socks, or products such as DermaSaver® or Posey® SkinSleeves™.  If something rubs up against the patient, the clothing or the device will move and hopefully not tear the epidermis from the dermis.

Be gentle, learn more

It goes without saying that we should be extra gentle when lifting, repositioning or transferring patients. By taking your time and softening your touch when caring for those at higher risk of skin tears, the frequency of such occurrences can be decreased.

Educating ourselves and our patients is also an important part of preventing skin tears. We need to understand the risk factors, keep the skin as nourished and moisturized as possible, avoid dangerous edges and surfaces in the environment, and treat patients gently.Skin Tear Webinar Coupon Code

For even more details on the prevention, staging and treatment of skin tears, view this free one-hour webinar recorded at the 2015 Wild On Wounds (WOW) National Conference. For access, click here and use the code SKINTEARS.

What do you think?

Were you already aware of who is most at risk for skin tears, and does this affect how you treat patients? And are there any preventative measures you regularly put in place that seem to help? If you have additional ideas, or any stories to share, please leave them 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.

 

 

Speaker Spotlight: Clinical Instructor Gail Hebert

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Gail Hebert RN, BS, MS, CWCN, WCC, DWC, OMS

The day-to-day work involved in wound care can be tough. Sometimes you just have to recharge your batteries, which is why WCEI Clinical Instructor Gail Hebert can’t wait to be a part of Wild on Wounds (WOW) 2015 next month. She’ll be among the stellar speakers scheduled for the Sept. 2-5 conference in Las Vegas.

“The great thing about WOW is that you can experience professional excitement again in the company of kindred spirits who have your same passion for wound care,” Hebert says. “And you’ll be excited to return to work, ready to improve wound care practices for your patients.” She will be presenting two sessions at this year’s conference:

  • HOW TO: Medical Device and Moisture Associated Skin Breakdown
  • HOW TO: Skin Tears

A registered nurse for over 35 years, Hebert’s enthusiasm is contagious. With her high-energy style, she will share the latest and greatest in treatments and prevention strategies. She’ll also highlight trends and information published in current literature and used in the field.

“When attendees come to my sessions, they’ll learn how to manage medical device related pressure ulcers so citations and legal issues do not arise from a lack of knowledge or awareness,” Hebert says. She’ll also answer the following questions:

  • What are the latest terminologies used to describe the four most common forms of moisture associated skin damage?
  • Are you in compliance with the 2014 International Guidelines on the prevention of medical device pressure ulcers?
  • How can we drive down the number of medical device related pressure ulcers that our patients experience?

Can’t wait to find out more? Check out this free webinar from WOW 2014, and hear Hebert discuss Palliative Wound Care, including wound odor, excessive bleeding, necrotic tissue, body image and caregiver skills. Use coupon code: BLOG. Valid through 12.31.15.

Still haven’t registered for WOW 2015? It’s not too late – sign up now, and get ready to recharge your batteries. We’ll see you there.