Appropriate case management is needed for patients with complicated wounds. Without proper care and treatment, chronic wounds represent a serious threat to patients' quality of life. A wound care nurse provides that specialized care needed and is able to direct interventions that can accelerate the healing process and provide cost savings. Specifically the W.O.C. nurse can:
--Educate patients, family, and nursing staff about preventive measures and management techniques to promote wound healing.
--Implement plans to prevent pressure ulcers and other wounds from developing.
--Develop a plan of care using individualized and innovative new products to promote healing and cost-effectiveness.
An ostomy is a surgically created opening in the body for the dicharge of wastes. In addition to changes in body function, ostomy patients must deal with changes in how they perceive themselves. When a W.O.C. nurse is involved with the care of patients with ostomies, the W.O.C. nurse can:
--Provide preoperative visits and stoma site selection for elective procedures.
--Develop rehabilitation plans to help return the patient back to a productive lifestyle.
--Choose and order appropriate supplies to suit each individual's needs.
--Deliver patient and family education to help master management and care of the ostomy and ensure correct use of the care products.
--Deliver follow-up care or access home health nursing needs.
--Help patient and family identify problems that should be reported to a physician or W.O.C. nurse.
Early indentification and treatment of underlying causes are essential to reduce complications (such as impaired skin integrity) related to urinary and/or fecal incontinence. This in turn, can reduce the need for extensive use of supplies and services. Also, once the causes are determined, the most appropriate and effective approach can be formulated. The W.O.C. nurse can:
--Assess patients for the cause and type of incontinence.
--Collaborate with physicians and other health care providers to develop a plan of care for the control of incontinence.
--Teach care providers, patients, and families the steps needed to correct incontinence or effectively manage it at home.
--Help facilities meet government guidelines such as F TAG 314 and F TAG 315.
Foot and Nail Care
The foot and nail care nurse is educated in basic and intermediate foot care. Basic foot care consists of a yearly assessment, foot hygiene, comfort, and patient education. The goals of intermediate foot care are to educate the patient in self foot care, maintaining nails of normal length and thickness, smoothing corns and calluses, promoting skin integrity and preventing ulceration or other injury. The W.O.C. nurse can:
--Educate the patient, family, or caregiver in basic foot care.
--Provide lower extremity assessments at each visit.
--Detect early problems and provide prompt diagnostic and treatment interventions.
--Make refferals to specialists (podiatry, orthopedic, vascular) if assessment warrants.
--Provide basic foot care for diabetics.