The pandemic has challenged nursing home wound care practices like never before.
“Challenges like the ongoing workforce shortage, resources around wound care management and limited access to patients really created a perfect storm during COVID-19,” observed Amin Setoodeh, RN, senior vice president of skin health and clinical services for Medline.
As pressure wound rates increased and some wound care specialists were kept at bay during lockdowns, wound care product usage actually declined, he noted.
That also meant less contact with many wound care companies’ consultants and clinicians, said Mary Madison, RN, clinical consultant for Briggs Healthcare’s LTC/Senior Living business.
“As a result, many healthcare facilities were following the model of bundling care to prevent the spread of the virus and to preserve PPE,” said certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse Vittoria Pontieri-Lewis, MS, RN.
Telemedicine helped fill some gaps, with many caregivers resorting to photography as an alternative to in-person consults, Pontieri-Lewis added. Studies have shown such “store -and-forward” methods can be beneficial for both patients and providers.
Gunnar Johannsson, M.D., senior vice president of research and development for Kerecis, observed that wound care centers tapped into telemedicine to provide around-the-clock consults.
“Remote telehealth capability has provided more resources for the frontline care providers and organizations overall to better assess wounds and develop a game plan for treatment,” Medline’s Setoodeh added.
COVID-19 not only increases a patient’s risk for pressure ulcers, but for those who endure ventilator care, it changes where those wounds might occur. Nurses must be more vigilant than ever, and that may lead to premanent positive impacts on the delivery of wound care.
Still, frontline wound care specialists hold dear to ever-evolving, evidence-based best practices.
“We need to be astute in our assessment skills, document the findings and, as I teach, ‘tell the story,’” Pontieri-Lewis said.