A Seasoned Wound Care Certified RN's Input On Using Digital Wound Management
Comprehensive wound care documentation is imperative in the delivery of high quality wound care. At Dove Healthcare, adhering to high standards and focusing on innovation in their care delivery is just part of how we commit to excellence every day. Several years ago, Dove Healthcare - West Eau Claire saw the opportunity to innovate and improve their wound care program with digital wound management.
Hear what Kelly has to share about the experience and her advice for other skilled nursing facilities.
PERCEPTIVE: WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT DOVE HEALTHCARE AND WHO DOES DOVE HEALTHCARE SERVE?
Kelly: Dove Healthcare consists of six skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers and five assisted living residences in Barron, Bloomer, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Osseo, and Rice Lake. Core services include rehabilitation, post-acute care, ventilator care, skilled nursing, long-term and end-of-life care, as well as assisted living and memory care. Our talented and diverse workforce of approximately 800 employees serves an average of 400 residents and patients every day.
I have been at Dove Healthcare - West Eau Claire since 2002. While I have held many roles during this time, I have been the primary wound care nurse since 2012. I am also part of our RN case manager team assisting with oversight of patient care and supervising nursing employees.
PERCEPTIVE: CAN YOU EXPLAIN A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR WOUND CARE TEAM AND THE PATIENTS YOU SEE AT DOVE?
Kelly: Our wound care team consists of nutritional services, nurses, therapists, a registered dietitian, and our medical director.
Patients with a variety of wound care needs are referred to Dove Healthcare - West Eau Claire, including post-surgical wounds, pressure and diabetic ulcers, and wounds related to or complicated by lymphedema, poor circulation, chronic inflammation, vascular disorders, and other conditions.
PERCEPTIVE: HOW HAS YOUR WOUND CARE PROGRAM EVOLVED OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS?
Kelly: I feel our team is more confident as there are a lot more wound care treatment resources available. For example, the photographs that are taken on a weekly basis allow us to better visualize when a change has occurred which assists with quicker MD notification and possible treatment options.
PERCEPTIVE: WHAT CHALLENGES WERE YOU EXPERIENCING OR AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT WERE YOU LOOKING TO ACHIEVE THAT LED YOU TO CONSIDER DIGITAL WOUND MANAGEMENT FOR YOUR WOUND CARE PROGRAM?
Kelly: Innovation is rooted in our mission at Dove Healthcare. We are committed to excellence through adherence to high standards, and so we are always looking for innovative ways to advance patient care. Our team at Dove Healthcare - West Eau Claire felt that photography would contribute greatly towards enhanced documentation and education.
PERCEPTIVE: ADOPTING NEW SOFTWARE/TECHNOLOGY CAN SEEM OVERWHELMING AT TIMES, HOW DID YOU AND YOUR TEAM APPROACH THIS TO ENSURE A SMOOTH PROCESS?
Kelly: Early on, we devoted a lot of time into research regarding photographic wound documentation. Then, during the transition and implementation process, the team at Perceptive Solutions assisted us every step of the way which contributed greatly towards a smooth process.
PERCEPTIVE: WHAT WAS THE FEEDBACK PRE AND POST ADOPTION OF DIGITAL WOUND MANAGEMENT FROM THE NURSING TEAM?
Kelly: Pre-feedback, many of the nurses were excited and curious, as they had not worked with photographic wound documentation before. Following implementation of the photograph wound documentation system, they had a better understanding of the different tissue types, definitions, and they could track the overall healing process.
PERCEPTIVE: WHAT BENEFITS HAS YOUR FACILITY/TEAM EXPERIENCE SINCE ADOPTING DIGITAL WOUND MANAGEMENT?
Kelly: Adopting digital wound management has been an important, effective component as it has added objective visual confirmation in the written record, and it has assisted with improving the ability to monitor wound status despite different nurses caring for the patient. Another benefit that we have experienced at Dove Healthcare - West Eau Claire is the effect that the photographs have in educating not only the patient, but their family as well. Wound photography has also allowed licensed team members and clinicians to monitor the stages of healing; detect the presence of complications; assess the effectiveness of treatments; and help educate our new team members and medical/nursing students as well.
PERCEPTIVE: PATIENT ENGAGEMENT AND COMPLIANCE IS A CRUCIAL PART OF WOUND HEALING PROGRESS, HOW HAVE PATIENTS ENGAGED WITH, OR FELT, ABOUT THIS TECHNOLOGY?
Kelly: I have had patients track their progress weekly, and share it with their family members. When they see improvements, they are motivated to continue with the current interventions, however, when declines or no changes are noted, then we can look back at the week and discuss what was different. This has definitely helped patients adhere to recommendations.
PERCEPTIVE: WHAT WOULD YOU TELL OTHER FACILITIES THAT HAVEN'T YET CONSIDERED DIGITAL WOUND MANAGEMENT FOR THEIR WOUND CARE PROGRAM?
Kelly: Photographic wound documentation has become a more prevalent documentation tool. It can show both how an injury occurred and how it is healing, and you can track the overall progress visually along with the patient. It can assist with facilitating a better diagnosis; monitoring the progress of the wound; improving communication amongst the wound care team; and educating patients, families, and employees.
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