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Checklist for Improved Wound Outcomes: Part 1

Hess, Cathy Thomas BSN, RN, CWOCN

Advances in Skin & Wound Care: March 2012 - Volume 25 - Issue 3 - p 144
doi: 10.1097/01.ASW.0000412916.19571.6e
Departments: Practice Points

Cathy Thomas Hess, BSN, RN, CWOCN, is President and Director of Clinical Operations, Well Care Strategies, Inc (WCS). WCS specializes in focused software solutions, Your TPS ® EMR, and mapping best clinical, operational, and technology practices.

Please address correspondence to: Cathy Thomas Hess, BSN, RN, CWOCN, 4080 Deer Run Court, Suite 1114, Harrisburg, PA 17112; e-mail:

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.

Table 1

Table 1

Source: Hess CT. Evidence-based pathways excerpted with permission from TPS EMR. © B 2012 Wound Care Strategies, Inc.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.