Managing change

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Michael DiFrancesco
Michael DiFrancesco

Why do we have such a difficult time with “CHANGE?”

Through the years it has been very clear; human nature makes it extremely difficult for us to “accept” change. We fight it like our life depends on the status quo in the process we call life.

Over the years it has been my responsibility to manage change; whether I was leading people through the doors of change (or dragging them through the door) or leading my customers through a change in process, policy, and procedure.

A specific time in my life resonates with me as it relates to change management.  In 1995, I was working as a sales representative with a wound care company.  At that time wound care products in nursing homes were relatively limited in scope and consisted mainly of a process called “wet to dry.” This process, considered the “gold standard,” involved packing wounds with saline-socked gauze and when the gauze dried, the nurse or caretaker would remove the gauze from the afflicted area. The belief was that the debridement achieved during this procedure would help wounds heal quicker.  The fact of the matter was that although the “wet to dry” process was effective for cleaning dirty or necrotic wounds, the process removed healthy tissue responsible for healing.

 It was clear at that time that innovation by a number of wound care companies would challenge the “status quo” as these new products were ahead of the technology curve in these facilities.  The adoption of a “new” technology/process was a threat to the “establishment.” It took many years of consistent education, trials, and clinical results to “move” the masses “through the door” of change.  Today these companies produce wound dressing that represent the GOLD standard for wound care.

Another area that is seen as a challenge to the established method of care is related to “crushing solid medications.” The current GOLD standard is to manually crush pills using a multitude of methods and mechanical devices. This manual process does NOT provide a consistent result; patients reject medication, tubes become clogged with “chunky” pills and nurses incur stress injuries to shoulders, elbows, and wrists due to this manual process; and yet it is still the GOLD standard.  The new automated First Crush is an effective and efficient alternative that has been proven to provide better results for the patient and the caretaker yet there is resistance to “CHANGE” from the current method.

The fear of the unknown is a very powerful human reaction as it often takes a great deal of effort to go beyond the “familiar” to the “new.” But advances in technology that give caregivers better options and better results for patients should not be pushed aside. Change is GOOD and improvements to equipment and methods of patient care signify much needed PROGRESS for the long-term care industry.

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Michael Defrancesco is president of First Wave Products, creators of First Crush and whose parent company, First Wave Technologies, Inc., works with leading research institutions and universities to develop next generation medical technologies. For more information, call 877-784-0269 or email at service@firstwaveproducts.com

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