How a certified wound care nurse improves outcomes, reduces costs

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.

Having a certified wound care nurse on staff makes a positive difference for both patient care and the bottom line.

Researchers have found reducing pressure injury rates saves money, with individual organizations that prevent even just one stage 3 or stage 4 pressure injury saving $20,000 in direct costs or up to $120,000 in total cost.

“In a vast majority of cases, pressure injuries are avoidable with the appropriate care,” said Bob Applebaum, PhD, director of the Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project, professor in the Department of Sociology and Gerontology and a Scripps Research Fellow at Miami University.

This is important because more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. are affected by pressure injuries and more than 60,000 patients die each year as a direct result of the condition, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The high cost of non-prevention

The average hospital treatment cost associated with stage IV pressure injuries and related complications was $129,248 for hospital-acquired pressure injuries during one admission, and $124,327 for community-acquired pressure injuries over an average of four admissions.

Pressure injuries cost $9.1 to $11.6 billion per year in the U.S., with the cost of individual patient care ranging from $20,900 to $151,700 per pressure injury.

Medicare estimated in 2007 that each pressure injury added $43,180 in costs to a hospital stay, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Value of a certified wound care nurse

Wound care certification is a boon to nursing careers, making enrollment in the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) an important component to your nursing expertise.

“Our alumni have made a commitment not only to their careers but also to their patients,” said Diana Ramirez-Ripp, CWCMS, manager of live events with the WCEI. “Some of our alumni go on to serve on boards of various organizations or open wound care centers. Once you become certified, you’re considered an expert in your field, which can increase the likelihood of more professional opportunities.”

A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study was conducted following a 2016 wound care training of nearly 200 long-term care nurses in Ohio. The study found a connection between the presence of onsite wound care certified staff and a reduction in pressure injury rates for patients.

A total of 199 nurses attended a face-to-face, five-day wound care certification course, and subsequently took the wound care certification exam offered by the credentialing board — the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy.

The Skin and Wound Care Management training was provided through the Wound Care Education Institute as part of a joint venture with the Ohio Health Care Association and the Ohio Department of Medicaid. The goal was to determine whether measures related to pressure injury …read more

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