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Samaritan’s Wound Care Team Offers Better Quality of Life
Created by hospice on 2/7/2012 3:30:16 PM


The woman was calling Samaritan to set up a Loving Tribute fund in honor of her husband’s aunt who had died recently in a nursing home while receiving Samaritan’s hospice care.

The grateful family member told Director of Development Robin Todd about the wonderfully caring people Samaritan sent to care for her loved one. But what impressed her the most, she said, was that in the three months that Samaritan had cared for her aunt, she never once experienced the physical and emotional pain of a pressure ulcer (also known as bed sores). “The staff at the nursing home,” she related, “said they can always tell who are Samaritan patients because they have excellent skin care and fewer wounds.”

This “Samaritan Difference” is no coincidence, according to Samaritan’s Director of Clinical Support Eva Russell, RN, BS, FACCWS, CWS, CHPN.  (Click here to see video)

Russell, a certified wound specialist, heads Samaritan’s Wound Care Team. This well-trained group provides advanced care over and above Medicare-required regulations.

“When you consider that 33-35% of our patients come onto our program with some type of wounds,” says Russell, “advanced training, high-tech equipment, superior treatment products, supplies – and a creative approach – make a huge difference in the comfort and quality of life of our patients. These advanced wound care treatments generally cost more than our insurance reimbursements allow but, thanks to donor support, we are able to make that investment in better outcomes for our patients’ comfort.”

Samaritan’s arsenal of innovative treatments include advanced dressings, specialty creams that help prevent the skin breakdown that can cause pressure ulcers, a costly pump that provides Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) to promote quicker healing and low air-loss mattresses that redistribute patients’ weight to reduce pressure.

Russell relates that preventing or healing wounds goes beyond reducing physical pain.

“One of our patients, with great sadness, gave up seeing her grandchildren and having lunch with her friends, because she was embarrassed to expose them to the sight and odor of her wounds. By reducing odor and healing her wound with fast-acting products, Samaritan helped her enjoy the last weeks of her life surrounded by those she loved. Her story is not uncommon among our patients.”

Just having these products, however, is not enough. Russell considers staff education a priority. More than 99 percent of Samaritan’s Certified Home Health Aides and Licensed Practical Nurses have been certified in Medline’s Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program (PUPP), she says proudly.

“Then,” she says, “We teach family caregivers at the bedside what causes wounds in the first place and how they can prevent them. If a patient comes on our program with a wound, we show the family how to care for the wound to promote faster healing and ways to position the patient in the bed to reduce pressure on the wound.”

Because the results of good wound care are so important to our patients and their family caregivers, says Russell, “We’re passionate about it! Our donors’ support allows us to provide this very specialized care that makes such a difference.”

To donate to Samaritan or for more information, please call (800) 229-8183.