Better wound care for CM Health patients

PennyJune 11 ed2019 01

Latest News 12 June 2019 | Counties Manukau Health patients are benefitting from improved access to sophisticated wound care.

Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Vacuum Dressing is associated with faster and more successful recovery, says Clinical Nurse Specialist Wound Care Penny McAulay. 

The treatment involves using a sealed wound dressing connected to a vacuum pump that stimulates healing.

“Patients are normally discharged with this dressing on complex wounds to heal their wounds. It allows for earlier discharge and promotes independence as it is easier for the patients to manage. It gives them back their quality of life and the wound heals quicker,” Ms McAulay says.

However, previously this was only available to patients discharged back to their own home, where a district nurse would visit and change the dressing every three days. 

“This therapy was not available to patients discharged to rest homes or private hospitals.  Instead, they would either remain at Middlemore Hospital with all the associated costs of keeping a person in hospital or simply miss out on the treatment altogether,” she says.

“So we worked with the private hospitals and rest homes in association with the (vacuum dressing) company representatives to teach the staff and we also provide them with clinical support from the Counties Manukau Health Complex Wound Clinic and Virtual Clinic run by the Wound Care specialist.”

The move has been a success and now, patients with wounds can be discharged back to rest homes and private hospitals.  As well as benefiting the patient, the nurses at the private facilities feel more empowered because they have effectively up skilled, Ms McAulay adds.

In addition to the increased access to Negative Pressure Wound Therapy, Ms McAulay is also operating a ‘virtual clinic’ to reach more wound care patients in the community.

Through the virtual clinic, rest homes and private hospitals, district nurses and GPs who are unsure how to manage certain wounds can email images of various wounds to Ms McAulay who then establishes a care plan for that patient.  The initiative is helping to prevent wounds from deteriorating, including becoming septic.  It also has the added benefit of preventing the patients presenting to hospital.  She estimates she sees about five wounds this way each week.

“This is proving to be really valuable in preventing patients from turning up in the Emergency Department and requiring hospitalisation.”