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South Carolina AALNC 2016 Conference Featuring Wound Care Overview

Atlanta, Georgia – WEBWIRE
SC AALNC Board Members 2016
SC AALNC Board Members 2016

"Christopher Reeves died of sepsis due to a pressure ulcer."

Atlanta legal nurse consultant Liz Buddenhagen attended the 2016 South Carolina American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants conference in Hilton Head, SC on February 20, 2016. The conference featured various speakers focusing on wound care from clinical and medical-legal aspects.

Overview of Wound Care:

Eileen Regan, RN, Case Manager, began the conference presenting wound statistics:

  • 6.5 million Americans with chronic wounds.
  • $50 billion dollars annually in health care costs.
  • Increased costs with diabetics, obese patients and other co-morbidities such as heart disease, congestive heart failure, peripheral arterial and vascular disease.

Regan explained that 80% of chronic wounds are venous wounds, are difficult to heal and frequently re-occur.

Traumatic wounds are more susceptible to infection. There is increased risk for organ or tissue damage and increased likelihood of having a foreign body in the wound. Emergent care is generally needed with surgical intervention. Complications such as sepsis or organ failure can occur.

Pressure Ulcers are most common with elderly, immobile, chronically ill and post-surgical patients. Treatments include advanced wound care therapy, VAC (vacuum assisted closure), pressure relief surfaces and nutritional supplements. Prevention is key to abate the incidence.

Surgical wounds can be complicated by dehiscence (opening of the surgical incision) partially or completely. Treatment includes surgical intervention, wound care such as debridement and advanced wound care therapy, VAC therapy, antibiotic therapy and hyperbaric therapy. To receive hyperbaric therapy, patients lie down in a pressurized chamber, which is then compressed to a specific level, using pure oxygen.

Arterial ulcers are due to poor circulation of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a common cause. These generally form on the ankles or toes. Treatment includes surgical revascularization, advanced wound therapy, medications and increased walking.

Risk factors for venous ulcers are diabetes, obesity, smoking, standing for long periods of time, history of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) and previous injury. Treatments include debridement (cutting away of dead tissue), advanced wound care therapy, compression therapy (compression hose), elevating legs and antibiotics.

Signs of diabetic wounds are chronic pain, lack of pain such as neuropathy, elevated blood sugars, redness, swelling or necrotic (dead) tissue and fever and chills. Prevention measures are daily foot inspection, management of blood sugars, diabetic shoes for pressure relief, no barefoot walking and using clean cotton socks.


Atlanta Legal Nurse Consultant:

Liz Buddenhagen, registered nurse, has been assisting Atlanta attorneys since 2005 with the medical aspects of their medical-legal cases. For more information email , view or call 770-725-2997.

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