Dedication to Innovation – The Wound Care Team
Anyone working in or needing healthcare understands the pressure the system is under. Hospitals are flooded with patients and in many places emergency rooms are either closing temporarily or permanently. One impact on our communities is felt by the many patients who would normally be treated in hospital being discharged to their homes, while still dealing with health crises.
This is where home care comes in. What home care staff are seeing as a result of this offloading of care are clients with more complex conditions than they might normally see. As is often the case with care, especially complex care, it doesn’t exist in isolation and requires multiple supports to treat and manage. As an agency with a home care department comprised of nursing, personal support services and rehabilitation services, all of which support clients dealing with wounds, these teams got together to figure out new ways of working to support the changing and complex needs of their clients.
The product was an innovative program which brought together teams which had mostly worked in parallel rather than collaboratively. Carefor’s newly created Wound Care Team is represented by nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, a registered dietician, the Personal Support Services Supervisor, and Professional Practice Leads. The group meets quarterly to discuss innovative and best practices for managing and treating wounds.
The goal as stated by Personal Support Services Supervisor, Nicholas Miron is “to improve the detection and prevention of wound development for Carefor’s wound care clients.” Nicholas has seen the impact on Carefor clients, one of whom required an innovative plan due to skin tears developing while ambulating in her wheelchair. She was opposed to using the foot pedals on her wheelchair and would remove them whenever she got the chance. With the foot pedals removed, she was susceptible to developing more skin tears as the lack of pedals left space for friction at her sides.
As the resources for this client were also limited due to her financial situation, Nicholas brought these issues to the Wound Care Team who worked together to develop a plan. He managed to cut a pool noodle and shape it to fit over the bars, protecting the client from continuing to develop skin tears, while still respecting her wishes for the foot pedals to not be on the wheelchair.
With approximately 60% of Carefor nurses’ time spent dealing with clients requiring complex wound care, better ways of working are always front of mind for our staff. This collaboration not only improves outcomes for our clients, it also improves staff work satisfaction knowing that they’re bettering their practice and are part of a team with a similar focus. While Carefor’s Wound Care Team does not fix a strained healthcare system, it does offer those in the middle of it the help they need at home.