There's a new initiative to bring nursing home care to the next level, by reducing incidents of bedsores.
State Health Secretary Karen Timberlake says pressure ulcers — or bedsores — are preventable afflictions.
“They are, of course, challenging and difficult to prevent, but that's why we want to have a special training program and that's why we want to send more of our registered nurses throughout the state through this training program so that they can take their expertise back to the facilities where they work.”
Health leaders in the state are working together to focus on prevention and reduction of the painful sores that inflict many fragile, bedridden folks. This fall 200 registered nurses will be educated and certified to help prevent and treat pressure ulcers.
Tom Moore, Executive Director of Wisconsin Health Care Association , says Wisconsin is on the forefront with this collaborative effort in mass training.
“The nature and scope of this is probably the first of its kind in the country, and I truly believe that once this gets out it will become a national model for other states to follow.”
Timberlake says there are about 33,000 residents in nursing homes around the state, all of whom are vulnerable to pressure ulcers, the result of the lack of blood flow.
“And we know that when pressure ulcers occur they are very expensive to care for and treat, they are very painful, they can lead to other health complications.”
According to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel, caring for a severe pressure ulcer costs between $38,000 to $55,000 annually. Timberlake says increasing the quality of care through education could save Wisconsin's health care system millions annually.
The following organizations make up a collaborative effort to certify 200 long-term care Wisconsin registered nurses as certified pressure ulcer specialists:
- Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services
- Wisconsin Health Care Association
- Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
- Wisconsin Directors of Nursing Council
- National Alliance of Wound Care
- Wound Care Education Institute
- West Bend Mutual Insurance
- GuideOne Insurance
- Golden Living
- Kindred Health Care Foundation
NOTE: Governor Jim Doyle has proclaimed June, 2008, as “ Long-term Caregiver Month ” in Wisconsin .