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|For Immediate Release
Levindale Joins National Wound Care Initiative
Fighting back against cancer, diabetes and long-term immobility takes a lot of strength, stamina and courage. One of the debilitating effects of these battles (and many others) can be pressure ulcers. They occur when the skin breaks down due to a lack of nutrients and/or a constant pressure on the same area of skin without relief.
Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital in Baltimore is one of only two nursing homes in Maryland selected to take part in a nationwide project that focuses on the treatment and prevention of these pressure ulcers.
The National Nursing Home Improvement Collaborative (NNHIC) is 13-month program, which began in October of 2003 and will run until November of 2004. It was created to test and measure the innovations taking place regarding the treatment of wound care in long-term care centers.
Representing Levindale at two NNHIC conferences in Dallas since October were Susan Levy, M.D., Mary Lindenmuth, R.N.C., Cathie Papantonio, R.N., Michelle Woods, L.P.N. and Jennifer Labute, administrative assistant. "We met with staff at 53 other nursing homes to share ideas and data,” says Levy. "When the project is completed, the results will be tallied and sent to the 16,000 nursing homes across the country.”
The NNHIC project at Levindale has led to changes by a wound care team that was already in place. The team, which consists of a wound care specialist, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants under the guidance of a physician and the nursing staff, now briefs interdisciplinary personnel with regularity on new procedures and patient updates.
Another key modification at Levindale is the re-testing of residents, using the Braden Risk Assessment, when their mobility or nutritional conditions vary. This assessment is first given within the first 24 hours of admission.
Other changes include special attention to turning and moving residents at regular intervals, tracking wound care results by computer and checking the condition of wheelchairs. A brightly colored hydration cart is now available for residents who need to drink more liquids. This idea came from a nursing home affiliated with the NNHIC.
Communication is a big part of the new procedures at Levindale. In addition to the interdisciplinary briefings mentioned earlier, information is included in a center-wide monthly newsletter, at bimonthly Department Head meetings and contact continues with other NNHIC-affiliated nursing homes. Adjustments have also begun in the order process involving the pharmacy at Levindale.
Future plans include continuing to fine tune the systems in place, making new forms for skin assessment by geriatric nursing assistants and adding more nutritional assessments for residents whose conditions are worsening.
Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital is part of LifeBridge Health, one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of health services in the northwest Baltimore region.