Departments: Practice Points
An effective tool for managing patient outcomes is the clinical pathway, which provides clinical and operational direction in a stepwise fashion for the team to follow when performing a comprehensive patient assessment:
* Assessment, both initial and ongoing, describes the overall condition of the patient, including wound status.
* Documentation, both written and photographic, becomes the foundation for management decisions, evaluation of the wound-healing process, and reimbursement decisions. It also serves as a defense in litigation.
* Interventions, guided by the multidisciplinary wound care team, include topical treatments, use of support surfaces, adjunctive therapies and products, and nutritional supplements.
* Expected outcome describes the overall condition of the patient that should result from all the processes performed on or for that patient.
The first step to coordinate a wound care pathway is to understand the predisposing factors, patient assessment factors, and wound characteristics. Table 1 illustrates the differentiating factors for arterial, diabetic, and venous ulcers. This information will assist clinicians to begin a checklist for the wound care pathway. In next month’s column, we will discuss the evidence that supports the work for a pathway.
Source: Hess CT. Evidence-based pathways excerpted with permission from TPS™ EMR. © B 2012 Wound Care Strategies, Inc. http://www.wellcarestrategies.com.