Skin Ambassadors: A Key to Preventing Pressure Ulcers in US Healthcare

In the United States, pressure ulcers are a major problem in healthcare facilities, and they affects millions of individuals each year. These ulcers, also called bedsores, occur when a patient remains in the same position for a prolonged period, causing pressure on the skin and soft tissue. Unfortunately, when pressure injuries or ulcers occur, they can lead to severe complications, including sepsis and death. That’s why preventing pressure ulcers is a top priority for healthcare institutions and providers. Now Dr. Marie-Ange D. Tardieu, New York Plastic and cosmetic surgeon, skin specialist and a wound expert is proposing a new strategy. She has cared for tens of thousands pressure ulcers, and has been lecturing, coaching and training generations of nurses, doctors, CNAs and other health professionals on how to optimize skin health and manage and treat pressure ulcers for years. Her new strategy is gaining traction in the industry. In this blog article, we’ll discuss how skin ambassadors can help reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers and improve patient outcomes in US healthcare.

The problem with pressure ulcers is that they often go unnoticed until they’ve already begun to cause skin and skeletal damages. CNAs are usually the first to notice them during hospitalization, but on admission, nurses, doctors, and other health professionals typically assess patients at risk of developing pressure ulcers and take preventative measures, such as turning them every 12 hours and so on. However, these measures are not always enough, especially in high-risk areas like trauma wards where the risk of developing a pressure ulcer can be as high as 100%.

That’s where the concept of skin ambassadors comes in. Skin ambassadors are educated clinical staff members who serve as advocates for patients’ and residents’ skin health in hospitals and nursing homes. From the get go, hospital and nursing home’s administrators must onboard their nurses – doctors – and CNAs new hires, with courses designed to assess the skin, and recognize and treat pressure ulcers effectively. Those who are boarded with this level of awareness and education become the facility’s skin ambassadors. Even in the absence of a coach or wound specialist, these frontliners i.e. nurses, CNAs, doctors and other care providers will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to recognize the signs of pressure ulcers early on, and take actions to prevent further damage. In the case where a pressure ulcer already existed, the skin ambassador will prevent them from worsening. With that strategy, entire hospital or nursing staff are converted into skin ambassadors, leading entire staff to lessen the occurrence of these ulcers in those institutions.

One of the key benefits of skin ambassadors is that they can help bridge the gap between the clinical and administrative sides of healthcare. Ambassadors can ensure that preventative measures are put in place across entire healthcare organizations. They can also educate caretakers upon the discharge of patients about the importance of skin health and the risks associated with pressure ulcers.

Another advantage of skin ambassadors is that they are mindful of the use of the latest technology and resources to prevent pressure ulcers. This includes specialized equipment like pressure-relieving mattresses and cushions, as well as wound care products like dressings and moisture barriers. By staying up to date on the latest developments in wound care, skin ambassadors, which are the entire clinical staff, can provide the best possible care to patients.

Certainly, implementing a skin ambassador program requires investment from healthcare organizations. However, the cost of not doing so may be much higher. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospital-acquired infections cost the US healthcare system up to $4.5 billion annually. When pressure ulcers develop after a patient is admitted, it’s considered the hospital’s fault, which can lead to litigation and penalty from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Pressure ulcers are a major problem in US healthcare system, but there are ways to prevent them. Dr. Tardieu’s Skin ambassadors program offer a promising new approach to reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers and improving patient outcomes. By working closely with administrators, these ambassadors can help to ensure that preventative measures are put in place across entire organizations. They can also provide patients with the latest technology and wound care products, as well as education about the importance of skin health. Although implementing a skin ambassador program requires investment, the cost of not doing so may be much greater in terms of healthcare costs, litigation, and penalties.

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