6 facts about pressure injuries nurses need to know

Editor’s note: We have partnered with The Wound Care Education Institute to raise awareness about the devastating effects of wound care knowledge gaps in the U.S. healthcare system. Our goal is to educate clinicians to empower themselves and their organizations to combat these gaps through wound care education.

Nurses are challenged every day to stay up to date, especially when it comes to wound care.

Whether it’s learning about a new treatment or product, the numerous wound types and multiple best practices, clinicians provide patients with the current standard of care thanks to a strong knowledge base.

Managing pressure injuries is something many nurses encounter regularly because of their pervasiveness across the healthcare continuum, whether that’s in home health, acute care or long-term care.

Don Wollheim, MD, FAPWCA, WCC, DWC, is a board-certified surgeon by the American Board of Surgery with 25 years of experience in general/vascular surgery and wound care. He is a medical-legal consultant and a clinical instructor at the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI).

Wollheim shares six key facts clinicians need to know when caring for a patient with pressure injuries.

1 — Pressure injuries are dynamic

Care practices from the past, Wollheim said, may not be what is done today. And what is done today may not be considered a best practice in the future. Simply put, wound care is always changing.

One example is the timing of conducting a Braden Scale wound assessment for predicting skin breakdown in patients.

“For many years, the practice was to conduct a Braden Scale assessment within 24 hours upon admission to a facility,” he said. “The new guideline now is conducting a Braden Scale risk assessment within eight hours of admission. This is the new standard of care and the result of scientific findings that pointed out that 24 hours may be too late for some patients as necrotic tissue can present much sooner — and as soon as six hours. Timely administration of the Braden Scale, along with using it correctly, is essential.”

Another common wound care practice in years past was wet-to-dry dressings. This is now considered outdated and no longer considered the standard of care, Wollheim said.

2 — Terminology and documentation changes

Just as care practices change, so does healthcare terminology. And when clinicians are caring for wound care patients, using the current terms is essential to ensure proper required charting, according to Wollheim.

Pressure injuries used to be called decubitus or pressure ulcers. In 2016, the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel recommended the name change to pressure injury.

Another recent change has been an update to the staging system of pressure injuries, along with their numbering. Roman numerals are no longer used. Instead, clinicians are now using Arabic numbers, Wollheim said.

3 — Pay attention to the healing rate of wounds

Nurses caring for a patient’s pressure injuries will want to monitor how quickly a wound is healing.

“We want a wound to heal as quickly as possible,” he said. …read more

Read full article here: nurse.com