In the rehab setting, wound care is not just a matter of controlling bleeding and decreasing the risk of infection. The goal is to support healing, promote nutrition, and educate patients and their families about wound treatment and prevention. Patients come to Magee to recover from traumatic injury or illness, such as spinal cord injuries and brain injuries, and about half to three quarters of the inpatient population at any given time is also receiving wound care.
Most common are pressure wounds, which can happen to individuals with spinal cord injuries as they lack sensation in the affected parts of their bodies. Other wounds we commonly treat include moisture related skin damage, diabetic wounds and wounds from arterial or venous disease and burns. Following admission, each patient is evaluated by the Wound Care team and a multi-disciplinary treatment plan is created based upon the needs and goals of the patient. Magee’s Wound Care team is comprised of three wound, ostomy, and continence nurses and a physical therapist responsible for treating patients during their inpatient stay and in their follow-up in the outpatient physicians’ practice. But in actuality, the team is much larger with daily collaboration across departments and specialties.
Therapy sessions are designed to improve the patient’s strength and mobility in a way that doesn’t make the wounds worse and prevents new wounds from occurring. The rehab plan includes a strong focus on prevention and education, which can be just as important as the actual treatment, to ensure the patient’s successful recovery following discharge.