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Are You Prepared For These Growing Wound Care Industry Trends?

5 Major themes dominate the direction of wound care nursing in 2022 & beyond

Whether healthcare facilities are ready or not, the need for wound care is continuing to rise. Steadily increasing healthcare costs, aging populations, hard-to-treat infections, and obesity create substantial risks for new and worsening wounds.

Wound care may feel like a specialty, but wounds are a common aspect of any area of healthcare. All surgeries have predictable resulting wounds. Pressure ulcers will be a risk in any patient with weight on a bony prominence. Patients with diseases involving tissue degeneration, like diabetes and vascular issues, are also at risk.

What are we going to see in wound care industry trends in 2022? Emerging technologies?

Unfortunately, while new technologies continue to develop, many facilities will not use them. Lack of awareness, funding, and trained staff limit many facilities to resort to outdated methods.

Gauze, telfa, and generic antibiotic ointments continue to dominate wound care. For example, there’s significant evidence that wet-to-dry dressings are subpar. Yet, they’re still a popular wound intervention.

If emerging advancements in wound care might not be used anyway…then what wound care industry trends will we see?

Here are 5 advanced wound care trends that will affect YOUR facility:

1.   There are going to be more wounds that need care.

Diabetes to venous insufficiency. Pressure ulcers to arterial insufficiency. Chronic diseases are huge contributors to chronic wounds. The projected rise of these wound-causing diseases is staggering.

In 2019, diabetes had an estimated prevalence of 9.3%. The predicted prevalence for 2030 is 10.2%. This leap goes from 463 million diabetics to 700 million in just a few years.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a significantly underdiagnosed disease, affects 10-40% of people. High blood pressure, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and deep vein thrombosis are all major contributors to CVI. All these factors rose with the pandemic.

The pandemic has also had serious health side effects that aren’t related to getting COVID-19 infections. Working from home has increased a sedentary lifestyle, which has led to a host of health issues. Obesity-related diseases and overuse/underuse injuries are just a few.

Many people are playing catch-up on caring for their health. People who have avoided going to the doctor are finally seeing them–but their health concerns have had more time to advance. Wounds with delayed intervention are going to be more serious. They’ll potentially need more involved interventions.

2.   More nurses will give wound care… even if they’re not wound care specialists.

Wound care needs are increasing faster than the wound care nursing specialty can handle.

Over 8 million people have a wound. Yet less than 10,000 RNs have been certified in wound, ostomy, foot, and/or continence care. This leaves many patients in the hands of medical providers that haven’t had formal wound care training and certification.

Another serious concern is the potential lack of RNs in general. A recent survey found that one-third of nurses have plans to leave their job before 2022 ends.

Also, inpatient or outpatient wound care typically isn’t a patient’s first stop. It’s common for patients to get their initial wound care treatments through urgent care, an ER, their primary care physician, or a long-term care facility. It’s less common for them to go directly to a healthcare facility with wound care certified providers.

Furthermore, many facilities also do not have the funding or patient volume to get a wound care specialist. Unless a facility’s wound care can be streamlined with robust tools and good quality control, patients are at risk for getting non-evidence-based care from overwhelmed nursing and physician staff.

In fact, the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties do not recognize wound care as an official “specialty.” This means there isn’t formal training available for physicians. It’s difficult to give evidence-based wound care when a physician hasn’t been educated in current evidence-based wound care interventions.

3.   The Joint Commission’s requirements are going to be more difficult to fulfill.

When the JCAHO inspectors pay a visit, how likely are they to find a top violation at your facilities?

In 2020, infection prevention and control were among the top 5 requirements labeled “not compliant” for almost all areas of healthcare. The areas included:

  • Ambulatory health care (i.e. outpatient clinics, clinics, same-day surgery, etc.)
  • Critical access hospitals (i.e. rural hospitals)
  • Home care (i.e. home health care, in-home nursing care)
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing care centers (i.e. skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, rehabilitation facilities)

Furthermore, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many facilities didn’t receive their annual visit. In the struggle to manage the pandemic’s ever-shifting demands, many facilities didn’t prioritize JCAHO compliance. As COVID-19 infection rates declined, healthcare centers everywhere had to play catch-up when the JCAHO visits became more regular.

What does this mean for wound care? It means more than maintaining general infection control. It means healthcare facilities need to pay special attention to their patients with high infection risk.

This looks like:

  • Promoting faster wound healing by managing underlying diseases
  • Increasing continuity of care so early signs of infection don’t get missed
  • Preventing infection with evidence-based wound cleaning and dressings
  • Instigating appropriate infection assessment and interventions when an infection does occur

This wound care industry trend may have the most monetary impact on your facility. Increasing your facility’s compliance with JCAHO regulations helps reduce the risk of fines, lost funding, and lost insurance coverage.

4.   Outdated wound care will be even less effective.

In a healthy person, the body has miraculous healing capabilities. It often has no trouble healing, even with minimal or poor wound care. For example, interventions like gauze and saline wet-to-dry dressings do not have good evidence to support their benefits. Yet normal, healthy tissue tends to heal fine with this intervention.

However, 2022 will see ineffective wound care prove to be even less effective. Why? Because there will be more chronic, complex wounds.

When underlying diseases aren’t treated, simple wound care is rarely effective. Wounds like these are at risk of growing larger and getting infections.

This leads to the next advanced wound care trend we’ll see in wound care….

5.   Wound care is going to be involved with more supporting specialties.

Chronic wounds need more care than wound care alone. These wounds need disease management for their underlying causes.

Providing wound care without looking at the full picture is not a holistic approach. Without good management of the underlying disease, wounds often remain stagnant or will heal…only to reopen later on.

Common specialties will include:

  • Vascular management. Both venous and arterial diseases are common contributors to chronic, high-risk wounds. Appropriate vascular management is a key intervention in successful wound care for these diseases.
  • Lymphedema management. A great dressing or ointment applied to a chronically swollen wound will have limited effect. Managing edema in lower-extremity wounds is a gold-standard intervention.
  • Diabetes management. Sustained high blood sugars cause tissue breakdown. Blood glucose management dramatically improves healing potential.
  • Infectious disease. Chronic diseases increase the risk for chronic infection. High-risk wounds can’t afford to have a mere generic topical antibiotic. Infectious disease is an invaluable resource for treating infections with the right intervention.
  • Orthotic/prosthetic clinics. Chronic pressure-related wounds of the feet need extra care to prevent new or more breakdown. Offloading shoes and inserts can significantly reduce the everyday pressure these feet experience.

When a facility has strong and streamlined connections with appropriate referral sources, patients see improved wound care.

How can YOU handle these wound care industry trends?

Short of hiring your own wound care specialist, what can YOUR facility do to improve your patient’s wound care outcomes?

A robust wound care documentation system is an excellent way to improve wound care. WoundZoom is the cost-effective, HIPAA-compliant choice that’s easy to use and uploads data right to the electronic health record that your facility uses.

What can a specialized wound care documentation system do for you?

  • Prompt staff in charting appropriate information
  • Allow staff to take and upload pictures within seconds
  • Take extremely accurate measurements with a single picture, reducing documentation variability between staff
  • Save time by automatically graphing patient and census wound healing trends
  • Create an automated workflow with EHR integration to improve clinical decision-making efficiency and reimbursement decisions
  • Provide a holistic look at patients’ wound care progression to support higher quality care

Quality improvement becomes a breeze. Charting becomes intuitive and fast. The continuity of your patient wound care increases dramatically. See if WoundZoom is the right fit for your needs with a FREE 30-minute demo today.

Meta Title: 5 Wound Care Industry Trends: Is Your Facility Prepared?

Meta Description: Advanced wound care trends are more than emerging technologies. These 5 trends will affect your healthcare practice, no matter how you currently handle wound care.

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Wound care industry trends

Advanced wound care trends

Wound care 2022