Updated: Apr 23
By Joe Ebberwein
We celebrated Wound Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Nurse Week last week. What struck me was the theme of last week which was “Be the Beacon!” How relevant those simple 3 words are to our wound and ostomy patients, regardless of our point of entry to serve them.
It isn’t easy to commit your life to Wound, Ostomy, and Continence issues. Over and over again, I hear the same stories of the challenges facing this group of specialized clinicians.
Wounds are difficult to manage, especially in the patient population with many chronic conditions contributing to their wound.
Many clinicians fail to recognize signs and severity of the condition in progress.
Often wounds that could have been closed are left unattended far too long, resulting in persistent, life-limiting chronic wounds.
Once identified, the knowledge for evidence-based care practices is often lacking.
Even when evidence-based advice is sought, direct experience and unconscious behaviors often win the day for Orders.
Healthcare practices are often based on misaligned incentives and patients needlessly suffer.
I could go on and on. But, this really isn’t a discussion of the problems that we see every day. It’s a discussion about the solutions…
Having spent the last 30 years of my career in the home health and hospice industry, I have worked with many nurses who are “beacons of light” not only to their patients, but also caregivers and fellow employees. I have witnessed those same nurses struggle to adopt Telehealth and remote patient monitoring technology for fear of losing the “high-touch” significance of their work only to then have the “aha moment” when technology saved their patient’s life or prevented a rehospitalization.
Some of our customers’ best and most compassionate nurses struggle with the idea of using technology to document their patient’s wounds. “It takes time away from my caring for my patient” is a statement that we hear often as we onboard a new client and work with them to adopt Corstrata’s technology-enabled wound care management services. Change is often difficult when it disrupts the comfort of an established workflow. Face it, home health and hospice nurses have a lot to get accomplished on a patient visit, and using one more technology requires disruption to that workflow.
Now, back to that “Aha moment!” What we see, time after time with nurses is that moment when they realize that the technology opens up new and exciting ways for them to care for their patients with a wound or ostomy. Sure, the technology saves time with its auto-measurement of the wound and the ability to efficiently document the assessment and care of the wound, but the real value comes from the access to the certified wound nurse who helps the nurse at the bedside to collaborate on the best strategy to either heal the wound, or in the case of hospice, to provide the best palliative wound care possible in line with the patient and family’s goals.
There is nothing more rewarding than hearing one of our customer’s nurses say,
“I’ve never felt comfortable caring for patients with wounds, because I didn’t feel equipped to provide the best care possible. With Corstrata, it’s like having a WOC nurse on the team with me, even if that Corstrata nurse is physically a thousand miles away. My patient’s wounds are healing!”
It’s exciting to see that a silver lining of the COVID Pandemic has been the acceleration of the adoption of Telehealth. Technology does not eliminate the “high-touch” component of care to our most vulnerable patients, rather it connects those in-person nurses needing guidance with the virtual WOC specialists, forging a relationship of trust in caring for a patient. Technology produces many more “beacons of light” in the care of wound and ostomy patients.
It’s always great to demonstrate the return on investment of contracting with Corstrata for virtual wound care management, but the most rewarding part of my work is experiencing those “aha moments” with our customers’ RNs and LPNs who are on the front line, in the homes, caring for patients in need of excellent wound and ostomy care.