Managing patients during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and the associated severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in particular, required the nimble responsiveness for which WOC nurses are known. Problem-solving skills were needed to continue the level of WOC nursing services expected by patients, families, and professional colleagues, while reducing the hours we were physically present at our clinical facility. In order to respond to these demands, our team realized it must create an innovative approach to provide efficient, cost-effective consultations during this global crisis. This Challenges in Practice article summarizes our experience with use of telemedicine technologies to perform remote consultations within the acute care setting.
Case 1 was a 52-year-old woman with a history of paraplegia. She had several pressure injuries but had not received topical care for these wounds prior to admission. A consultation for the WOC nurse was requested and performed via telehealth services on a day our team was working off-site. This case illustrates the process our team used to perform a virtual consultation and demonstrates how the use of images placed in the electronic medical record aided in developing an effective plan of care. Case 2 was a 48-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19. He developed bilateral unstageable pressure injuries on his cheeks after being placed in the prone position for a prolonged period while critically ill. This case describes multiple technologic platforms used for telemedicine consults in a patient with COVID-19 requiring isolation.
Remote consultation by WOC nurses was possible in our healthcare system because of previous experience using telemedicine technology and well-established collaborative relationships with providers and bedside nurses. By expanding our use of telemedicine technology, we were able to provide ongoing care to a patient without COVID-19 who had WOC consultation needs, and a patient with strict isolation demands due to COVID-19.