Specialized nursing care is available within and outside the hospital setting for persons with certain disorders of the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and integumentary systems.
The persons who provide this care are wound, ostomy and continence nurses (WOCN), a name which is short for enterostomal therapy. The nurses help patients with acute and rehabilitation care for abdominal stomas, wounds, fistulas, drains, incontinence and pressure sores.
The specialized knowledge of the W.O.C.N. nurses can help:
- Reduce hospital length of stay
- Reduce cost of necessary supplies
- Increase patient satisfaction
- Increase physician and nursing staff satisfaction
- Provide cost effective therapies
- Minimize complications
- Support patient's independence
More specifically W.O.C.N. nurses can provide the following services in these areas:
- Pre-operative education and stoma site marking.
- Post-operative education related to activities of daily living with an ostomy.
- Ongoing source for follow-up care.
- Selection and teaching of appropriate pouching techniques.
- Liaison and/or initialing referrals with other members of the health care team
Draining Wounds, Fistula Care
- Recommend skin care and appropriate treatment for collection of body fluids in the acute, skilled, extended and home care settings.
- Reduce skin breakdown.
- Accurately measure fluid loss.
- Provide education to healthcare staff, patients and family members.
- Recommend appropriate management, including product selection, odor control and treatment of skin care problems.
- Provide information, education and referrals.
- Identify patients at risk for skin breakdown.
- Recommend appropriate use of pressure relief/pressure reduction equipment.
- Initiate preventive skin care methods.
- Document stage of pressure injuries.
- Serve as a resource for physician and nursing staff on skin care.
W.O.C.N. nurses assist hospitals and extended care facilities with the care of the previously listed conditions.
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