Journal of Gerontological Nursing

Feature Article 

Managing Chronic, Nonhealing Wounds Using a Research-Based Protocol

Nancy Benton, MN, RN, CNS; Theresa A. Harvath, PhD, RN, CNS; Marna Flaherty-Robb, MSN, RN, CNS; Marijo Medcraft, RN; Karen McWhorter, MS, RN; Faith McClelland, RN, CWON; Carol Joseph, MD; Floris Mambourg, MS, RN

Abstract

The physical, emotional, and financial costs of caring for patients with chronic, nonhealing leg wounds are substantial. In fiscal year 2001, the home care department of a large Veterans Affairs medical center in the Pacific Northwest spent nearly half of its annual budget on veterans needing wound care. In this article, the authors describe a practice improvement project designed to improve the wound care management of homebound veterans with chronic, nonhealing lower extremity wounds using a research-based protocol and consultation by a certified wound care specialist, as well as the effect of this program on home care expenditures.

Abstract

The physical, emotional, and financial costs of caring for patients with chronic, nonhealing leg wounds are substantial. In fiscal year 2001, the home care department of a large Veterans Affairs medical center in the Pacific Northwest spent nearly half of its annual budget on veterans needing wound care. In this article, the authors describe a practice improvement project designed to improve the wound care management of homebound veterans with chronic, nonhealing lower extremity wounds using a research-based protocol and consultation by a certified wound care specialist, as well as the effect of this program on home care expenditures.
Authors
Ms. Benton is Director of Quality and Performance, Ms. Medcraft is Director, Home and Community Based Services, Ms. McWhorter is Clinical Nurse Specialist, Home and Community Based Services, Ms. McClelland is Staff Nurse, Nursing Skilled Care Unit, Dr. Joseph is Section Chief and Fellowship Director, Geriatric Medicine, and Ms. Mambourg is Associate Chief Nursing Officer, Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Dr. Harvath is Associate Professor and Director, Advanced Practice Gerontological Nursing, School of Nursing, and Ms. Flaherty-Robb is Clinical Nurse Specialist, Hospital and Clinics, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon. Dr. Joseph is also Associate Professor of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Government, or Oregon Health & Science University. The authors wish to acknowledge the funding received from the John A. Hartford Foundation under their initiative, Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity.

Address correspondence to Theresa A. Harvath, PhD, RN, CNS, Associate Professor and Director, Advanced Practice Gerontological Nursing, School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, 3455 SW U.S. Veteran’s Road, SN-6S, Portland, OR 97239-2941; e-mail: harvatht@ohsu.edu.

10.3928/00989134-20071101-07

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