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Communication In Healthcare

Good wound care requires not only good assessment skills and good decision making skills, but also good commination skills. This is especially true with long term wound care patients. Those with chronic, poor, or non-healing wounds. Most of these patients that develop chronic wounds generally have multiple comorbidities that are also contributing to the presence of the wound. Comorbidities such as diabetes, vascular disease, renal failure, to name a few. This along with the wide spectrum of chronic wounds (such as failed surgical wounds, vascular wounds [arterial and venous], diabetic wounds, pressure ulcers, traumatic wounds, severe degree burns, infections [i.e. osteomyelitis]) require a high level of attention to communication.

There are many levels of communication that are required with chronic wound management (face-to-face, written, and telephone). All of which have to be ongoing, anticipatory, intra-disciplinary, and definitive. Accurate information has to be delivery to all necessary participants and recipients of the care. This list should include the patient, the patient’s family, the primary care provider, the nursing staff, and may include others such as physical therapy team, dietician, and potentially more. You will find that most of the communication requires.

Some important rules to help improve communication flow:

  • Provide Accurate Documentation: Your written documentation is the only way you communication without speaking to others. Thus, you want those that read what ever you have written to trust the validity of the information.

  • Educate: Patients and family members tend to have “short term” expectations that are inconsistent with “long term” wound care. Provide as much education as needed to your patient and their family so they feel comfortable with the plan of care and the current status of the patients wound. Help them clarify misunderstandings. Be proactive in teaching them ‘things they need to know”.

  • Build A Team: Chronic wounds are not resolve by the care of one person alone. So never approach the delivery of care with that premise. Create a good line of dialog (about your patient’s wounds) with those that need to be involved. Meet weekly if possible, to review cases and discuss care plans.

Breakdowns in communication can lead to patient and family dissatisfaction, liability issues, and worse of all poor wound outcomes (delay in healing, infections, wound breakdown, and even death).

Gaps in the transfer of information can result in misunderstandings, misuse of products, missed follow-up appointments, and liability risk. Additionally, dissatisfied patients and families

Good communication will always lead to improved patient outcomes, decreased length of hospital or nursing home stay, improved patient safety, improved patient and family satisfaction, and reduction in legal pitfalls.

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