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    The art and science of wound care: Insights from a nurse


    Home health care nurse assists patient

    • Headshot of Kimberly Smith, 3M clinical specialist
      Kimberly Smith, 3M clinical specialist
      • Time heals all wounds.
      • Although it’s a common saying, it’s not always accurate.
      • When a wound occurs through an accident or as a result of a surgical incision, the body can do amazing things to heal itself, especially when the person is otherwise healthy. But those types of wounds were only a small percentage of what Kimberly Smith, an RN and 3M clinical specialist, saw while practicing as a home health care nurse.
      • “Chronic wounds – or wounds that fail to progress – are a major challenge,” says Kimberly. In fact, chronic, nonhealing wounds impact about 8.2 million Medicare beneficiaries, according to a 2021 article published in Advances in Wound Care. Current estimates show that about 2.5 percent of people in the U.S. suffer with chronic wounds which impact their quality of life.*

    Providing care for wounds that are hard to heal

    • Clinician applies dressings to a patient’s leg
      • Kimberly believes it’s essential to provide as much education about wound care and management as possible to clinicians. “We are subject matter experts in the area of wound care and if we reach health care providers it can have a large impact,” she says. “The more education we can provide, the better the outcome we can achieve.”
      • “You need to look at a patient holistically – there are things the clinician can’t control.” she says. “The goal is to provide the best quality of care by managing their symptoms. Most patients can experience some form of healing and we just have to find the right care for them.”
      • Chronic wounds can cause anxiety and keep patients homebound – not only because of the physical pain but because of emotional pain. Kimberly hopes that by working with clinicians and educating them about wound management and the solutions available, she can help patients get to a better place – emotionally and physically.

    • 3M V.A.C. Veraflo Cleanse Choice includes foam layers with a honeycomb pattern contact layer
      3M™V.A.C. Veraflo Cleanse Choice™
      • Kimberly says some treatments can be used in combination to make a difference. She recalls a patient who was home-bound because of a chronic wound that was not healing – a venous leg ulcer. She was afraid to go to church and wouldn’t visit family. She didn’t want to leave home because of her wound. “As part of her overall treatment, we applied 3M™ Promogran Prisma™ Matrix and 3M™ Tegaderm™ Silicone Foam Dressings and we used 3M™ Coban™ 2 Layer Compression System,” Kimberly says. “Within three weeks the edema was under control and by week four we saw the wound healing and closing. Two weeks after that, the wound was closed. After five weeks of treatment, she started going out and seeing her family again.”
      • As a 3M clinical specialist, Kimberly has seen dramatic results using wound care technology. “We had a patient with a very large wound with necrotizing fasciitis and we were very concerned,” she said. “We applied 3M™ Veraflo™ Therapy to her wound – specialized dressings designed for use with wound fluid instillation and Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) – in addition to debridement and systemic therapies, as a component of her clinical care. Within two weeks, she was able to go home,” she says.

    Advice for new clinicians

    • Kimberly says she has always looked for chances to learn from others while she is on the job. Her advice? Take opportunities to learn from others on the team who are treating your patients. “We all get busy, but it’s important to treat the whole patient,” she says. “When you work with a team, you can learn from them and it helps you see the patient holistically.”

    • Footnote:
      *Chandan K. Sen.Advances in Wound Care.May 2021.281 292.

      As with any case study, the results and outcomes should not be interpreted as a guarantee or warranty of similar results. Individual results may vary depending on the patient’s circumstances and condition.


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