What Happened to Practicing 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, often straying from wound care basics.  

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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The Benefit of Mentorship in Wound Care

Whether you’re a certified wound care nurse or clinical educator seeking to share your wisdom, mentorship in wound care is invaluable to healthcare staff at any stage in their career.

According to the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Certification Board (WOCNCB), there are almost 8,000 nurses certified in wound care. The wound care profession is a cohesive community of healthcare professionals who collaborate, share knowledge, network, and support one another, defining what mentorship in wound care is all about.

Many may think the term “mentorship” is synonymous with “preceptorship.” However, while precepting shares similarities with mentoring, mentorship in wound care can be vastly different.

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WCEI and NAWCO Partner on 2022 Wild on Wounds Conference

Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) by Relias will host the 2022 Wild on Wounds (WOW) conference from September 7-10 at the Diplomat Beach Resort, Hollywood, Florida. Wild on Wounds brings together clinicians from across the U.S. to network, participate in interactive sessions and hands-on workshops, and learn new treatments and technologies that enhance their knowledge and ability to care for patients.

New this year is a partnership with The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO) to host the conference. NAWCO assisted WCEI with the speaker lineup to bring clinicians fresh wound care sessions they can apply to their practice.

Designed for practicing nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, dieticians, and physicians, WOW offers innovative, interactive, and informative sessions including simulation workshops, live product demonstrations, debridement labs, compression labs, mock trials, an escape room, and more. Conference attendees have the opportunity to choose from 55 educational sessions and earn contact hours for continuing education (CE) credits and can receive a tax deduction for attending. Notable sessions include:

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The Pros and Cons of Wound Care Nursing

Whether they’re just starting out in their career or looking to make a change, today’s nurses have a variety of settings and specialties to choose from. Understanding the pros and cons of wound care nursing can help determine if a particular choice is right for you.

Wound care nursing is a much-needed specialty for nearly every healthcare setting — including acute, long-term care, and home care. And unlike certain specialties, wound care nurses treat several patient populations with varying degrees of complexity and must understand how to manage different types of wounds.

Learning the pros and cons of wound care nursing will also help you understand how this role differs from other specialties you may be considering.

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Why Wound Care Matters

Wound care is essential in nearly every care setting, affecting patients across the care continuum. Understanding why wound care matters to both patients and caregivers alike is key, as wounds can prolong hospital stays, increase the risk of infection, and quickly raise costs for healthcare facilities.

A common issue requiring wound care is pressure injuries, which affect 1 to 3 million people per year in the U.S. alone. While pressure injuries occur in most care environments, they are particularly prevalent in both long-term and post-acute care environments — including hospice and home health settings — where patients remain sedentary for extensive periods of time. As the median age of the U.S. population continues to rise, an increasing number of people require wound care services, including treatment for pressure injuries.

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COVID-19 Complicates Skin and Wound Care

The pandemic has brought skin and wound care challenges on many levels. One challenge is that COVID-19 can compromise the skin, leading to wounds that are harder to heal, according to Dianna Dashner, DNP, WCC, CLNC, LLE, senior nurse practitioner at ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.

SARS-CoV-2 infection can cause virus-mediated endothelial dysfunction, which decreases tissue tolerance, authors wrote in a paper published in the summer 2022 issue of AACN Advanced Critical Care.

Dashner said the body’s inflammatory markers remain high long after an infected person’s symptoms go away.

“Inflammation markers actually take one year from the time you’ve been infected to go back to normal. So for patients who have an autoimmune disease or an inflammatory process in their bodies from a condition they already have, their markers are going to be sky high,” said Dashner, who is presenting “COVID’s Impact on the Skin: A Look at What We Know” at the September Wild on Wounds conference in Hollywood, Florida. The conference explores skin and wound care challenges and provides hands-on learning opportunities.

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Wound Debridement Basics: The 5 Major Methods Explained

What is Debridement?

Wound debridement is the removal of necrotic, dead tissue from the wound bed. It also plays a vital role in the tissue management concept of wound bed preparation. Wound bed preparation is the comprehensive approach we use to get our chronic wounds to heal. There are two main categories of debridement: selective and non- selective. Selective methods are when only necrotic, non-viable tissue is removed from the wound bed. Non-selective methods remove both necrotic tissue and viable living tissue.

The 5 Major Debridement Methods

These five major debridement methods for wound clinicians are easy to remember (BEAMS), and key to the wound healing process. Debridement methods can be categorized under two main types.

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Spotting Signs of Wound Infection is the First Step in Proper Treatment

Understanding the most current literature describing stages and signs of wound infection helps clinicians to accurately assess wounds.

“If we allow wounds to become infected then it certainly impedes the healing process,” said Patricia A. Slachta, PhD, RN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN, co-director of the Wound Care Nurse Education Program at Relias.

With an accurate assessment, wound care clinicians can prevent infection or identify signs of wound infection early and allow the body to heal the wound as quickly as possible, without using antibiotics, according to Slachta, who shared her expertise on how to determine if a wound is infected and needs antibiotic treatment.

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Making an Impact: Successful Wound Care Poster Presentations

If you’re interested in submitting a poster presentation for the Wild on Wounds (WOW) conference, you’ll want to highlight your research findings succinctly through a combination of text and visuals.

“Poster presentations are a great way for clinicians to showcase their hard work on a project,” suggested Diana Ramirez-Ripp, HMCC, CWCMS, manager of live events for WCEI. “The content of the poster should interest your audience and provide a clear take-home message that attendees can grasp in a few moments.”

At the upcoming WOW conference, you’ll have the opportunity to share your research and accomplishments with other wound care professionals through poster abstracts. Posters are a standard at many conferences, and at WOW they include inspiring and thought-provoking presentations in various areas of wound care. These presentations give attendees the opportunity to gain new evidence-based knowledge in practice.

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Wild on Wounds (WOW) Is Back and Better Than Ever

Over the last two years, wound care clinicians have been among the many brave, dedicated souls out there providing the best care possible for their patients — in the face of seemingly endless adversity. It’s impossible to overstate the magnitude of what you’ve all been through.

These are among the many reasons the Wound Care Education Institute staff is so excited about this year’s Wild on Wounds (WOW) national conference. The mere notion of meeting face to face after so long apart is truly a reason to celebrate.

For those unaware, Wild on Wounds is an annual conference with workshops and curriculum designed to be relevant for wound care clinicians practicing at every level of skin and wound management. It’s an opportunity to learn, network, discover what’s new in wound care, and of course, have a great time.

In partnership with the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO), this year’s event is being held September 7-10 in sunny Hollywood, Florida. Buying your ticket by April 30 saves you $100, so register early. There are seven tiers of entry to choose from, so take a look at the site to see everything we’re offering this year.

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