Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society Releases Results of Outcomes Research

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The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®) is pleased to announce the exceptional results of a recent research study that showed WOC nurses are a key factor in achieving better patient outcomes related to wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) conditions.

This study, the "Effectiveness of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses on Agency-Level Wound and Incontinence Outcomes in Home Care," is the largest and most comprehensive study ever undertaken on WOC care. Results found that facilities with WOC nurses had significantly better patient improvement and stabilization in services for wounds, incontinence and urinary tract infections compared to facilities without WOC nurses.

In the more than 400,000 episodes of care included in this study, home healthcare (HHC) patients treated with a WOC nurse improved dramatically compared to HHC patients without a WOC nurse. The numbers tell us patients were:
- More than 2.3 times likely to have stabilization of urinary incontinence
- Also 1.2 times as likely to have stabilization of urinary tract infections
- And 1.16 times as likely to have stabilization of fecal incontinence

“WOC nursing is a multifaceted, evidence-based practice incorporating a unique body of knowledge that adheres to high standards of practice cultivated by the American Nurses Association,” says WOCN® Society president Kate Lawrence, MSN, RN, CWOCN. “This study proves that WOC care results in better patient outcomes, which translates into lower patient care costs.”

In addition to the aforementioned results, the study also found that patients were nearly twice as likely to have improvement in pressure ulcers, 20 percent more likely to have improvement in lower extremity ulcers and 14 percent more likely to have improvement in bowel incontinence.

"WOC nurses are invaluable to employers,” Lawrence says. “Evidence from our study showed that patient outcomes improve and WOC care can prevent readmissions. WOC care also helps ensure hospitals get the maximum payout from Medicare and Medicaid.”
This study was made possible by a WOCN® Society grant to a team of investigators at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Chartered in 2010, the study successfully met its goals to compare both incidence and patient outcomes in pressure ulcers, stasis ulcers, surgical wounds, urinary/bowel incontinence, and urinary tract infections (UTI) for patients and facilities with and without WOC nurses.

Bonnie Westra, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, associate professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, notes, “We’ve always assumed that WOC education and certification make a difference. We now have evidence that proves they make a difference. In the past, home healthcare agencies worried that hiring a WOC nurse may cost them more, but the results of this study show it’s worth it to hire a WOC nurse."

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