According to 2014 data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), more than 2,000 of 16,000 long-term care facilities across the U.S. were cited for failure to properly treat a resident to prevent new bed sores or heal existing ones. If such issues are not corrected and skin breakdown occurs, facilities are subject to penalties. More than 17,000 lawsuits are filed annually due to pressure ulcers alone, second only to wrongful death in health lawsuits filed. An estimated 1.5 million skin tears occur annually in older institutionalized adults in the U.S.
Clinicians need a solution that speaks not only to prevention, but also is designed to address the treatment of varying skin breakdown. Protocols exist but oftentimes lack context, consistency and versatility. Medline Industries, Inc. introduces a first-of-its kind holistic skin health initiative called Skintegrity ™ that recognizes healthy skin is just as important as a healthy heart, brain or lungs. It represents a long-term, sustainable approach that encourages attention to the health of a patient’s skin during all key points of care and at every life stage.
Because every person’s skin is unique and may react differently to conditions like friction and shear, Skintegrity is designed to meet a patient’s individual needs. The program features personalized clinical education for assessing skin changes, a robust portfolio of evidence-based products for care and treatment, and easy-to-use outcomes management tools that pinpoint where gaps in skin care occur.
What clinicians are most excited about is that the program can be seamlessly incorporated into their daily, patient care routines.
Medline chief nursing officer and National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) Advisory Council member Martie Moore, formed a special task force of skin health experts to develop Skintegrity and deliver a necessary call to action. “Throughout my career, I have watched patients endure the constant pain and frustration that often accompanies severe pressure injuries. Nurses often feel powerless because they don’t always have the right tools for prevention,” says Moore. “I’m proud to present Skintegrity as a necessary fundamental shift in the prevention and treatment of these injuries – from a “one size fits all” mindset to a complete, customized solution.”
Two leading causes of skin breakdown are pressure ulcers and moisture-associated skin damage. Skin breakdown can become difficult to heal depending on its stage and whether it is infected, which is why skin health is so important. Unbroken skin is the body’s first line of defense against infection.
When a facility implements Skintegrity, the program is based on an in-depth organizational analysis developed by skin experts. From that analysis, Skintegrity provides a three-pronged approach to improving skin health across the continuum of care: staff education, use of evidence-based products and analysis of outcomes using management tools.
Training courses also are available for every skill level and role, from the certified nursing assistant to the director of nursing. Skintegrity’s courses teach and reinforce best practices in care, teamwork, responsibilities of those in leadership and how to execute change.
The second important component of Skintegrity is made up of products that help promote prevention, wound care and treatment. All products are evidence-based and cover the essentials of cleansing, moisturizing and protection, nutrition, containing and absorbing, wound care, pressure redistribution, among others.
Lastly, Skintegrity provides organizations with ongoing outcomes management tools and access to a team of experts to track and analyze what’s working, where gaps exist in staff education or implementation, and what more needs to be done to improve skin outcomes.
“When we conducted the root cause analysis in the clinical setting, two consistent themes would emerge; the first was a lack of knowledge and application to clinical practice around skin health, the second was having evidence-based products that enhanced the clinical products to achieve optimal outcomes. I always found that one or the other was missing. Sometimes both. Skintegrity delivers a necessary call to action. And our goal for this program is that skin health is the only conversation being held,” Moore says.
The National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) is dedicated to elevating the professional standing and performance of certified nursing assistants who care for the frail and elderly. Knowing that healthy skin has a significant impact on quality of health and life for residents, NAHCA’s Steering Committee is underscoring its commitment to skin health by unanimously deciding to endorse Skintegrity, calling it an innovative and valuable program for frontline caregivers and their patients.
“Every day, our members see the effects of compromised skin – pain, vulnerability to infection and impact on mobility,” says Jeff Wellman, COO, NAHCA. “CNAs are deeply invested in the well-being of the people they serve; they also have an unquenchable desire to learn and grow. Skintegrity is an innovative solution that underscores the critical need for improving skin health among the aging population. Though the steering committee has been asked to endorse other products or services, this is the first time they have achieved unanimous consent to do so.”
Source: Medline Industries, Inc.