Why is wound care education important? Mentor and ‘Initiative Chronische Wunde’ CEO Veronika Gerber shares her insights.
🕐 2:30 minutes
Best practices are meant for sharing
But putting the pieces together can be hard. Especially if you don’t know where to start.
This holds true especially with leg ulcers. Diagnostics is heavily neglected and a lack of knowledge is prevalent. This results in taking up to several years until a leg ulcer is correctly diagnosed.
Rising rates of chronic conditions and aging populations do not help the state of affairs for wound care demand. In the future, the majority of healthcare professionals will be responsible for managing chronic wounds at any given point in time. Look at it this way: If someone is admitted as an in-patient because they have an eye infection, they don't leave their foot ulcer at home. From ENT to urology, it is crucial to have staff members who can be consulted when wound patients walk through the door.
But there’s a catch. GPs can't send all patients to a specialist. Additionally, not every senior wants to go to another doctor. As I see it, it is becoming increasingly important to have relevant knowledge and reliable resources available and easily accessible.
There is a saying: “knowledge increases only by sharing, not saving.” And knowledge-sharing, especially in the practice of wound care, is at the heart of what we do.
Established in 2005, the Initiative for Chronic Wounds (ICW) currently has 40 regional working groups across Germany. We are nurses, clinicians, specialists, general practitioners, and researchers who meet regularly to exchange ideas, network, and examine methods to optimise and harmonise knowledge-sharing. We build interprofessional teams and are home to 150 certified wound care training providers across Germany.
I received my formal education and training as a paediatric nurse in 1976 at the University Clinic in Düsseldorf. At that time, there was nothing in the programme explicitly addressing the management of chronic wounds. Plainly stated, I taught myself the ABC’s of wound healing. Over the course of twenty years, I worked in several clinics in Germany where I realized that healthcare professionals had limited to no knowledge of wound management. During those years, I developed in-house wound trainings from scratch.
But today, HCPs have a range of options.
There are programs in place, corporate training offerings, and even wound education options online. But it’s not enough. Remember, chronic conditions are rising. The amount of wound cases will naturally increase. Patients will come from different backgrounds. And as a result, your education must continue. You must keep growing. You have to keep learning…and learning from one another.
If chronic wound care is indeed a puzzle, practitioners with the knowledge, skills, and experience have the first piece. So let’s put the pieces together for our patients. Because, today, now, more than ever is the time to LINK [Learn. Inform. Network. Knowledge.].
Veronika Gerber is the CEO and a founding member of the Initiative for Chronic Wounds (ICW), a German wound-healing association. She began her career as a paediatric nurse in Düsseldorf, and has since committed to making wound care education accessible to every healthcare professional.