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The Biggest Obstacle Facing Chronic Wound Patients at Home

Posted on in Product and Service Solutions

By Heather Trumm, BSN, RN, CWON, director of Wound Care, VGM Group, Inc.

I wanted to get another wound and ostomy nurse’s opinion to help DME’s with wound care. My friend, Barb Rozenboom, agreed to “interview” with me as she is a telehealth nurse who works with many home health nurses across the state of Iowa. She is a certified wound and ostomy nurse. Take a look at her insight.

What do you see as the biggest obstacle the home patient faces when healing a chronic wound?
I feel the biggest obstacle that the home care patient faces in healing a chronic wound is managing the underlying chronic disease process that may have contributed to the development of the chronic wound or is impairing wound healing. 

What tools do you use as a WOCN to overcome that obstacle?
In addition to the wound assessment, a thorough, holistic assessment is the most effective tool the WOC nurse utilizes. A complete assessment of the patient's nutritional status, medications, mobility and activity level, continence, comorbid conditions, support system, home environment, and their health history enables the nurse and patient to develop an effective plan of care to treat the wound. It is important to provide patient and caregiver education on the issues identified in the assessment to allow the patient to set realistic goals and expectations for wound healing.

What can DMEs/HMEs do to aid in alleviating the obstacle? 
DMEs/HMEs can assist patients by providing education on supplies and equipment necessary to allow the patient to remain in their own home safely. Most home care services are intermittent care, and patients or caregivers may be responsible for performing wound care or utilizing equipment to help manage the patient's care at home. It is important for DMEs/HMEs to keep current on what products are available for wound care, payer guidelines, and resources that are available to patients.

Any advice you would give to DMEs/HMEs that are in the wound care business?
When possible, provide education on how products are to be utilized. If patients do not qualify for or are not receiving home care services, caregivers may be responsible for performing wound care. They need education on how to use wound care products safely and appropriately. Many health care providers are not aware of payer source guidelines and monthly allowables for wound care products. DME/HME staff should be knowledgeable about the products and the reimbursement guidelines to be able to answer questions and provide education to their customers and to providers. 

What’s the most important rule of thumb to remember in wound care?
The most important rule of thumb in wound care is that you are not just choosing and applying a dressing. It is important to look at the big picture of what is occurring with your patient and perform a complete assessment to be able to modify or eliminate the cause or identify what risk factors are going to affect wound healing. This will allow the provider to develop a plan of care with realistic goals and utilization of appropriate products to treat the wound.  

Do you want to get into wound care in the DME space or learn more about it? Please contact me at heather.trumm@vgm.com or 319-493-8523.