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Education and Empowerment of the Nursing Assistant: Validating Their Important Role in Skin Care and Pressure Ulcer Prevention, and Demonstrating Productivity Enhancement and Cost Savings

Howe, Lynn RN, MS, CEN, CCRN

Advances in Skin & Wound Care:
doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000323505.45531.92
Features: Original Investigation
Abstract

AIM: This article details an educational program designed to utilize nonlicensed personnel (certified nursing assistants [CNAs] and nursing assistants [NAs]) in the prevention of pressure ulcers and improved skin care in a 250-bed acute care facility in a suburban setting. The article is divided into 2 parts: A and B. Part A addresses the educational program, which was part of a major initiative for improving patient outcomes that included a review and standardization of skin care products and protocols. Part B addresses productivity enhancement and cost savings experienced because of changing bathing and incontinence care products and procedures.

BACKGROUND: The educational program included instruction on time-saving methods for increasing productivity in bathing and incontinence care, and effectively promoted the importance of proper skin care and pressure ulcer prevention techniques.

METHODS: Methods incorporated into the educational training targeted different reading and comprehension levels, ranging from the use of PowerPoint slides, hands-on return demonstration, and group discussion related to pressure ulcer staging and wound treatment. These educational methods provided the participants with significant reinforcement of each day's learning objectives. Productivity enhancement and cost savings are addressed in part B, as well as the results of a time-motion study.

RESULTS: Because of the program, CNAs/NAs were empowered in their integral caregiver roles. This program was part of a larger, major process improvement initiative, but the rate of acquired pressure ulcers declined from 2.17% in 2002 to 1.71% in 2003. This educational program was considered a contributor to the improved patient outcomes.

In Brief

This study details an educational program designed to utilize nonlicensed personnel (certified nursing assistants and nursing assistants) in the prevention of pressure ulcers and improved skin care in a 250-bed acute care facility in a suburban setting.

Author Information

Lynn Howe, RN, MS, CEN, CCRN, is a Workforce Development Consultant at Healthstream, Inc, Nashville, TN.

Submitted: July 6, 2006; accepted in revised form April 24, 2007.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.