The term wound specialist is not one that many people are familiar with or truly understand. A wound specialist is a medical professional who has studied further, solely focusing on different types of wound and the actions that need to take place when intervention is necessary. Nurses, physicians and physical therapists can all be wound specialists and work together to provide the best possible care and most effective treatment for the patient.
Defining a Wound Specialist
A wound specialist is a professional who has specialized in the care and treatment of acute, chronic and non-healing wounds. Acute wounds include cuts from surgical procedures, animal bites and burns; while chronic wounds refer to pressure sores and diabetic ulcers. After the completion of basic health care courses and three years of wound care experience, a written test is taken as the final step in becoming a wound specialist. Although the wound specialist is now qualified, the wound care field is constantly evolving, and so regular re-certification testing is necessary.
The Different Types of Specialists
A multidisciplinary approach is used to deliver wound care to patients. This approach includes nurses, physicians and physical therapists trained in wound care, working together to provide the best possible outcome for the patient.
Nurses that specialize in wound care, make the initial assessment of the wound and decide on a treatment plan while the patient is in hospital, as well as once they are discharged. This outpatient care can either be temporary or permanent. Although cleaning, treating and dressing wounds are the nurse’s primary job; educating the patient and their family about wound care is arguably just as important. Knowing the early signs of infection and getting the appropriate care immediately are extremely important in reducing the need for additional treatment – saving the patient money.
A primary care physician will assess and refer a patient to a physician in another discipline, if they are unable to care for the wound. The type of physician involved will depend on the origin, location and extent of the wound. Examples include plastic surgery, general surgery, podiatry, and dermatology. The primary care physician will assist in the communication and therapy amongst the team of specialists.
Physical therapists work with patients who need more intense therapy action, such as compression therapy or whirlpool therapy.
Why Involve A Wound Specialist?
A patient is referred to a wound specialist for further evaluation and treatment, when a wound has not healed normally after a month of cleaning, treating and dressing. Any patient can involve a wound specialist during a healing process, irrespective of a referral or not and may benefit from the following advantages.
- They will determine the best treatment for the type, location and extent of your wound.
- They are able to determine whether the wound has the ability to heal naturally, or if it needs more intense therapies.
- Being up to date with and having access to the most effective treatments for specific wounds, they can speed up the healing process.
- With a multidisciplinary team, comes knowledge from different fields bringing various options to improve healing and quality of life for the patient.
You may have to pay for a wound specialist but that beats going back to hospital with an infected wound. They not only come up with the best possible treatment for your specific case but could end up saving you and your family lots of money.
If you would like to know more about a wound care specialist contact one of CutisCare’s family of wound care centers.