KATHERINE PIETTE has never run from tough challenges, and everyone knows the journey of wound, ostomy, and continence is full of challenges.
"I am often asked why did you start Corstrata...and, for years I expressed a sophisticated, professional response that gets immediate nods of acceptance. And, that seemed appropriate." "But, a friend recently said, 'The best in business occurs when others find that we are driven by a mission developed through an experience…'. I have to agree."
OUR HISTORY DRIVES OUR FUTURE! Both of Katherine's parents passed away by the time she was in her mid-forties. Each had several chronic illnesses, brought on by the standard of living of their day and age. In the final months of her father’s life, Katherine witnessed firsthand what living with a debilitating, chronic wound truly meant. She expresses how painful it was for him and those caring for him!
"You see, my father was traveling the slow spiral of death from kidney failure..." Katherine shares, as her eyes get a bit distance. "He was frail, mostly bed-bound, and, not surprisingly, developed pressure ulcers on his buttocks. In the course of his care, he was admitted to the hospital and then discharged to a rehabilitation facility. The staff of nurses, therapists, and aides at the rehab were attentive, caring, and well-intended. But, they had only modest knowledge for adequately treating my father’s wounds and his pain."
Katherine shares further, "These memories have forever stuck with me...some might say, these memories haunt me."
"The pain from these pressure ulcers was constant and often excruciating. I remember how difficult it was for my father when the nurses changed his bandages. Try as his caregivers did, the wounds continued to worsen. I remember that one was large enough to put my fist in it..." Katherine adds.
It was only later in Katherine's career that she learned of certified wound nurses and their specialized knowledge. It was a key ‘aha’ moment!
"It was what my father had so desperately needed as part of his team. I became steadfast in my learning," Katherine shares with a smile. "I learned there were alternative approaches to dressing changes, which significantly mitigate pain. It was such a simple concept! I became aware of the simple pressure relief options, such as a donut. Or, what about the great mattresses now available that stimulate circulation?"
The most fascinating realization to Katherine? The last two decades of research have rendered many advanced wound dressings. The thought that a single dressing can be placed and stay for days, drastically reducing the number of times necessary for care and dressing changes. At the same time, many of these dressings are designed to promote healing of the tissue, defying the 'tape and gauze' approach. These advancements were not even in the realm of possibility at the time of Katherine's father’s illness!
Sadly, the story of Katherine's father is not unique, even today. For many reasons, clinical practice is slow to change in healthcare. Awareness, specific knowledge of best practices, and perceived cost containment measures continue to challenge best practices. It is the certified wound and ostomy nurses that hold this information. Today, there are only 15,000 certified wound nurses in the U.S., and 90% of them work in the hospital. That means a very limited number is available for all other care sites, especially in the home.
Katherine combines the learnings and approaches of advanced wound care, with the era of Telehealth. Technology can shift access to scarce, qualified resources. Virtual access allows knowledge and experience held by a few to be distributed more broadly and efficiently. "As I consider the very difficult memories of my father’s last days, I know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I believe, with all of my heart, that no one deserves to experience that kind of pain and indignity..." says Katherine.
The WHY for Katherine drives Corstrata's mission. A unique combination of skilled staff and technology delivers key wound knowledge and best practices when and where it's needed. Corstrata is going to be what changes the experience for so many!