Pressure ulcers are a serious medical problem that affect millions of people worldwide. Also called bedsores, these wounds usually occur when there is prolonged pressure on the skin that damages the underlying tissue. Although most of them are preventable, when they occur, pressure ulcers can develop rapidly, especially in patients who are bedridden or have limited mobility. In hospitals and nursing homes, preventing and treating pressure ulcers is a major priority, and resident doctors, nurses and CNAs are at the front lines of this effort. In this article, we will discuss how a program that converts all doctors, nurses and CNAs into skin ambassadors can help prevent and treat pressure ulcers timely, and reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers.
What is the Skin Ambassador Program?
The skin ambassador program is an innovative approach to skin care that empowers health professionals i.e. nurses, CNAs, doctors, Pas and NPs to become leaders in pressure ulcer prevention and treatment. This program involves specialized training for the frontliners, as well as ongoing education and support, to enable them to assess the skin, and to identify and treat pressure ulcers at the earliest stages, and with confidence. The program provides these onsite health professionals with the knowledge, skills, and tools to proactively promote skin health and prevent pressure ulcers from occurring in the first place.
Benefits of the Skin Ambassador Program
The skin ambassador program offers numerous benefits to patients and healthcare facilities alike. For patients, this program can help improve their quality of life by preventing and treating pressure ulcers before they become more severe. This can greatly reduce the pain and discomfort associated with these wounds, as well as the risk of infection and other complications. For healthcare facilities, training nurses and CNAs and other frontliners to become skin ambassadors can lead to significant cost savings by reducing the length of hospital stays, the need for specialized equipment, and the risk of litigation.
How the Program Works
The skin ambassador program is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the unique needs and circumstances of each healthcare facility. However, most programs follow a similar process:
- Assessment: Onboarding new hires with skin and skin care knowledge and skills. In-service existing health employees to conduct a thorough and comprehensive skin assessment. Empower new hires and existing employees with the knowledge of skin care practices and protocols of the facility. Teach frontliners how to identify areas of strength and weakness, and recommend specific strategies to improve skin health.
- Education: Nurses and CNAs receive specialized training about how to conduct a thorough and comprehensive skin assessment; training on pressure ulcer prevention, identification, and treatment. This includes digital online courses, and ongoing education and support. Additional individual and group hands-on workshops are also offered.
- Implementation: Nurses, doctors, CNAs, NPs and PAs use their training to proactively manage skin health and prevent pressure ulcers from occurring. They work closely with other healthcare professionals to identify at-risk patients and implement preventative strategies.
- Evaluation: The health facility i.e. hospital and nursing home, is continually evaluating their health employees, meaning the skin ambassadors, to ensure that the program is meeting its objectives and producing positive outcomes. This includes ongoing data collection and analysis, feedback from patients and staff, and regular performance reviews.
Successful Nurse Skin Care Ambassador Programs in Action
Several healthcare facilities Dr. Marie-Ange Tardieu worked with have successfully implemented this skin ambassador programs and they observed significant improvements in skin health and pressure ulcer prevention. Over the course of her career, Dr. Tardieu has cared for over 50,000 patients with complex wounds, including pressure injuries or ulcers, and she has noticed that where she educated and trained the actual frontliners caring for the patients, the outcome in pressure ulcer prevention improved. For instance, at two nursing facilities in New York, where she incidentally used this model, she was able to reduce their incidence of pressure ulcers significantly. Another healthcare facility in New York reduced its pressure ulcer rate by 50%, after Dr Tardieu educated their frontliners, thus transforming them into skin ambassadors. These success stories highlight the potential of the Tardieu skin ambassador initiative in preventing and treating pressure ulcers.
Preventing and treating pressure ulcers requires a collaborative effort from all healthcare professionals. However, by converting every doctor, nurse and CNA who will potentially care for such patient into skin ambassadors, healthcare facilities can take a proactive approach to skin health, and greatly reduce the incidence and severity of pressure ulcers. Through specialized training, ongoing education and support, and a commitment to best-practice skin care protocols, skin ambassadors can make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients and improve the overall quality of care in hospitals and nursing homes.
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No blog articles can replace the expertise of a licensed physician. The article on Skin-Post.com are intended solely for informational and educational purposes. This blog is not intended as medical advice. Please make certain that you consult your doctor or qualified clinician before making any decisions affecting your health, particularly if you have any symptoms that require treatment. Neither Dr. Tardieu nor Skin-Post.com accept liability should you choose to self-prescribe or treat yourself.