Grant will allow wound care nurses to treat more patients in the home

by Free Speech on July 21, 2010

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Marilyn Donaldson, wound ostomy continence nurse, applies a dressing on a wound for Lewis Owens. New technology funded by a grant from the Public Service Commission will allow her to be involed in treating more patient's wounds.

Marilyn Donaldson, wound ostomy continence nurse, applies a dressing on a wound for Lewis Owens. New technology funded by a grant from the Public Service Commission will allow her to be involed in treating more patient's wounds.

Home Health United (HHU) has received a grant of $48,858 from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin for technology that will allow their certified wound care nurses to see more wounds and recommend treatments.

“The Horizon Homecare Wound Advisor (HHWA), an integrated wound management software system, will extend the reach of our wound care nurses, helping lead to higher quality home care at less cost,” said Lynne Willer, vice president of home health for HHU.

HHU patients are homebound and over half of them live in rural areas. Many of these patients have wounds requiring nursing care. In 2009, 35 percent of HHU patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid had wounds requiring treatment.

Marilyn Donaldson, RN Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN), Angela Rhode, RN Wound Care Certified (WCC) nurse, assess patients with wounds, act as consultants to other HHU nurses and physicians to make recommendations on treatment and interventions. Due to the expanse of the HHU service area, these certified wound nurses are only able to see three or four patients per day. The new wound management system will allow these nurses to increase the oversight of more patients, perhaps up to four times as many patients in a day.

“Wound care cases are among the most complex, resource intensive and, therefore, costliest cases home care and hospice agencies must address,” Willer explained.

HHWA makes it possible to easily take a digital photo of a wound and transmit the image directly to a certified wound care nurse or physician utilizing the wound care software.  This allows the specialist to immediately address the wound treatment and make changes to the wound treatment plan for the patient that is self-managing or when the home health nurse is in the home and can instruct the patient or caregiver.

“We will have a way to utilize the expertise of our wound nurses with every wound patient, quickly and efficiently, allowing us to heal wounds faster, manage the cost and improve our early-intervention efforts,” she concluded.

HHU is a nonprofit agency that serves patients in 25 counties in southern Wisconsin. Services include:  nursing, social services, home health aides, occupational, physical and speech therapy, home medical equipment and supplies, hospice, companion homemaker services, Meals on Wheels and Community Health and Wellness.

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