I am a registered physiotherapist and I have been working in long-term care (LTC) and geriatric rehabilitation for 13 years. Working with a fragile geriatric population means that at any one time a significant number of my patients have open wounds. I have had many patients whose course in rehab has been greatly affected by delayed incisional wound healing, diabetic foot ulcers or pressure injuries. In some cases, patients have failed to rehab due to their non-healing wounds or amputees have failed to progress to prosthetic gait training. So when the OPA Wound Care program was introduced I started to speak to the facilities wound care nurses about what and how I could contribute to their wound care program, resulting in registering for the online and in-person course this past spring and summer.
I have found the introductory online course to be a very comprehensive resource. I learned about preventing and treating the underlying causes of wounds development as well as adjunctive therapies. I recently attended two in-person courses on one weekend: Wound Care Principles and Assessment and Addressing the Underlying Impairments and Causative Factors in Wound Care Management. The in-person courses built on the knowledge learned in the online course and allowed for time to practice new skills, discuss practical aspects of delivering care with experienced experts in the field and ask questions, learn how to classify and speak about wounds with appropriate terminology, how to better address edema, how to test for an ABPI and some basics about dressings. I was very pleased with the level of expertise and knowledge brought to the course by the instructors. Ethne L. Nussbaum, PhD., M.Ed., BSc. PT and Lyndsay Orr, PT were very available for questions and discussions throughout the course and clearly passionate about encouraging PTs to become more involved in wound care.
I would highly encourage other physiotherapists working in LTC or geriatric rehabilitation to consider registering for the Wound Care Program courses; it can only assist you in providing good care for your patients and you will learn skills that are immediately applicable. The course also gives you the confidence to use the modalities we are all familiar with to assist with wound healing. I am now starting to round with the wound care nurses at my facility and we have started a protocol for ultrasound therapy for wound healing. I feel the knowledge I gained taking the Wound Care Program has already contributed to positive outcomes for my patients and residents and I am excited to continue to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to wound care.
By Nicole Robinson, PT, Msc. PT