Management of skin tears/ simple wounds through the implementation of ‘Basic Wound Care Boxes’

Case study: Led by Georgina McKay, Tissue Viability Specialist Nurse, Care Plus Group

Background to learning

Care Plus Group provides community health and care services, supporting adults of all ages across North East Lincolnshire to achieve their best quality of life. The nurse-led Skin Integrity Service provides specialist clinical advice, education and support on wounds and wound care. The team provides training for many health and care professionals to support them in caring for people who are at high risk of tissue breakdown; people who have complex wounds and those who have delayed healing.

This case study explores how the service has adapted during the pandemic to reduce the risk to some of its potentially vulnerable elderly in the community through the distribution of ‘Basic Wound Care Boxes’.

Learning and advice to be shared

Ensuring a safe and effective approach to the numbers of external staff visiting care homes has been an important part of the approach to keep care home residents and staff safe. However, to support continued effective wound care the Tissue Viability team put together and distributed ‘Basic Wound Care Boxes’ for all 41 care homes in the locality.

The team sourced, prepared and delivered the boxes to care homes in the area. The boxes were packed with essential equipment required for managing skin tears and straightforward wounds which included: dressing packs, silicone dressings and irripods along with the relevant wound care guidance, pathways dressing information.

The team also supported care staff in the care homes by delivering training on how to undertake the appropriate care for straightforward wounds (skin tears, minor cuts, abrasions) to make the wound safe. The aim of this being to reduce the number of health care professional visits and paramedic calls. Once immediate wound care had been given, referral to the most appropriate service can then be made for on-going care or assessment as required.

Would it be beneficial to retain these changes?

It has been recognised that this approach increases knowledge and skills for the staff in care homes, building confidence to make their residents safe if they sustain a straightforward wound. Care staff may have previously had to call ambulance services to manage these wounds and partners in the local system are already exploring how these boxes might support a reduction in urgent and emergency care requests to offer that local and more familiar care environment which could provide a better experience for these elderly people.

Local services also consider the approach to improve referral processes for community nursing services and support better outcomes and experience for care home residents.

Consequently, local partners intend to continue and embed this approach into the care homes within the area. And, given the potential to help avoid what may be unnecessary admissions and A&E attendance, the service is also exploring how paramedics could use these boxes if called out.