The American College of Surgeons (ACS) today announced a new initiative to improve outcomes for patients requiring complex wound management. ACS will release a new structured teaching and verification program that utilizes engaging media and self-assessment checklists to educate surgical patients and their families about delivering self-care for wound conditions. An estimated 60 percent of wounds managed in the home occur in patients following their discharge after surgical treatment, and the ACS program will address a critical gap in the availability of standardized patient education resources.
The health care system has focused significant resources on reducing surgical site wound infections and complication rates in the ICU and hospitalized patients, but there has been little emphasis on helping the patient and their family to manage their wound care post-discharge or supporting health care professionals with resources for educating patients. The ACS Complex Wound Management program will support the patient in making an informed choice and support the surgeon with evidence-based content that meets the guidelines for health literacy, informed consent, and surgical patient safety.
"Ninety percent of ACS members who completed a 2014 patient education survey reported needing wound care resources. This program provides instruction in print and digital formats, educational checklists, and home care monitoring guides for surgical professionals to utilize with their patients. Evaluations from both patients and professionals will identify the best methods for home wound care management," Kathleen Heneghan, MSN, RN, Assistant Director, ACS Patient Education Program, said. The standardized training guide and education plan, objectives, and skill verification measures for professionals will also help to consistently implement best practices.
The Surgical Patient Education Program of the ACS Division of Education plans to produce, distribute, and evaluate 4,000 home skills kits over the next two years with partial support from an educational grant from Smith & Nephew.
The wound management program is the third in a series developed by the ACS Surgical Patient Education Program, building on the success of the ACS home skills program for patients with an ostomy and the recently announced program for patients requiring an enteral feeding tube. Each program provides the opportunity for patients and their caregivers to learn and practice the skills needed for optimal recovery and improved quality of life. With over 30,000 kits distributed since 2010, the ostomy program was rated as the number one resource among surgical professionals and patients who evaluated the skills kit compared to other tools for helping to prepare for postoperative care and recovery.
"Standardized wound education and training modules support an equitable and effective patient‐centered program available to all surgeons, nurses, and patients. The adherence to guidelines and providing engaging visual methods to communicate care needed for recovery is an effective way to improve quality, reduce variation in care and improve financial performance," David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS,ACS Executive Director, said.
In order to develop a national consensus on the best methods to teach patients and their families about complex wound management, this program is being developed in collaboration with patients; the Advisory Councils of the American College of Surgeons for general, plastic, gynecological, vascular, and orthopedic surgery; the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair; the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma; the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care; and the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses.
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