Ask the Treatment Expert about ... creating a skin care team

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Jeri Lundgren, RN, BSN, PHN, CWS, CWCN, CPT, President, Senior Providers Resource; AANAC Wound Specialist
Jeri Lundgren, RN, BSN, PHN, CWS, CWCN, CPT, President, Senior Providers Resource; AANAC Wound Specialist

I'm a wound care nurse new to long-term care, and I want to develop a skin care team. Whom should I consider for team members?

The foundation for a successful wound-care team is representation from the nursing assistants. 

The nursing assistants are responsible for implementing all the preventive interventions for pressure injuries. Preventing pressure injuries is a 24/7 job. If you can get nursing assistant representation from all shifts, you can ensure consistency of care and good communication. 

Once you have your nursing assistants on board, build your interdisciplinary team. 

It should include nurse managers, key floor nurses who provide the treatments, MDS coordinators, dietary and therapy. I also would recommend getting representation from housekeeping and/or maintenance. 

Housekeeping and maintenance can help track your support surfaces. When they clean the rooms, housekeeping staff can ensure that each resident has the appropriate bed surface and that it is in good working condition. 

They also should be aware of who has powered-bed surfaces so they can verify the beds are plugged in and functioning properly before they leave the room after cleaning. 

Another consideration is including someone from restorative nursing. The more a resident can move and be mobile, the less likely he or she will be to develop a pressure injury. 

Lastly, having support from your medical director, physicians and/or nurse practitioners will round out the medical team. They can help ensure proper diagnosis, prognosis, and management of wounds. With a proper foundation and rounding out by a variety of professionals, you can build a very successful skin care team.