Prioritizing workforce engagement: PruittHealth invests in skin health program to empower staff

Southeast regional long-term care organization discusses strategy on standardizing care and clinical education

By Medline Newsroom Staff | September 20, 2021

This article is part of a series focusing on workforce engagement in post-acute care. The Medline Newsroom will feature interviews with healthcare leaders to discuss their approach to investing in long-term programs that help empower their staff and present them with intuitive tools to provide high quality care.

Pressure injuries affect an estimated 2.5 million patients each year, according to the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel.  And with COVID-19 restrictions isolating nursing home residents, further limiting their mobility, many post-acute care providers have reported an increase in skin issues.

When it comes to skin health, there are two care priorities that are imperative for driving lasting impact with staff:

  • Standardization of care to create consistency and help prevent the development of skin issues.
  • A holistic approach to care that looks at the patient’s skin in relation to their overall health and well-being.

By standardizing the way providers identify skin health risks and provide preventive care, they’ll be more equipped to tackle challenges before they become bigger problems.

With 50+ years of experience providing care, PruittHealth is a regional long-term care leader in the Southeast. The organization has spent the last two years implementing a holistic approach to skin health at its 90+ skilled nursing locations that incorporates best guidelines, products and monthly training to empower staff. The long-term strategy is paying off and positively impacting care. The Medline Newsroom spoke with PruittHealth’s Senior Vice President of Clinical Services Annette Salisbury to learn more about the organization’s approach and the impact it’s had on their workforce.

Medline Newsroom: Long-term care organizations across the country are rethinking the way they approach skin health. Tell us about PruittHealth’s approach to skin health care

Annette: Our approach to skin health is very much the same as our approach to each resident’s overall care: it is holistic and all-encompassing. We think of our residents as family and we treat them as we would want our own family members to be treated.  When we look at the resident, it is important to look at the entire person. If a resident has wound issues on their skin, for example, usually there are other problems needing to be addressed as well, such as weight loss, nutrition, and possible depression. This is why we take a holistic approach when diagnosing and treating each resident.

Medline Newsroom: How has leadership viewed this initiative and what are a few tips you’d offer to other clinical leaders who are trying to get their leadership on board with investing in similar programs? 

Annette: For more than 50 years, the PruittHealth family has worked to elevate the level of care provided in the profession and we’ve done so with the adoption of care initiatives such as this one. Focusing on skin health has helped our organization improve and strengthen our wound care program, improve quality measures related to pressure injuries, and increase staff competency related to wound care. We all get into healthcare because we’re passionate about making a difference in the lives of others, and so my advice to providers would be to keep the benefits to the patients front and center – particularly the improved care outcomes – when considering a new initiative like this.

Medline Newsroom: The industry is facing a dangerous workforce shortage. How can investing in long-term programs like skin health help engage staff and potentially reduce turnover?

Annette: At PruittHealth, we believe empowering our partners with the training and resources needed to be successful in their respective roles will help retain staff and reduce turnover. Hence, why we invest in long-term programs like this. We provide each location with a skin integrity nurse who completes the daily dressing and wound care needs of each patient. That individual is thoroughly trained on the wound care formulary and, as such, is able to provide high-quality care to each patient. Additionally, all floor nurses receive training on the wound care formulary and basic wound care so they can support the skin integrity nurse as needed.

Medline Newsroom: As a large organization, how do you get clinical staff on board with implementing a systemwide change to their care approach?

Annette: With more than 90 skilled nursing locations spanning four states, a standard of practice among our facilities is critical for achieving quality care outcomes. Our partners know that “family makes us stronger.” That’s why we treat patients as members of our own, immediate families and we want to do our best for them. Partners are aware of and agree to our care approach and expectations, as outlined in staff policies and procedures, at the time they join the PruittHealth family. To monitor implementation of new approaches like this one, monthly visits to review regulations and policies with the teams in each facility are performed. In addition, to help ensure compliance and enhance empowerment among our care teams, PruittHealth conducts bi-annual clinician boot camps and monthly virtual wound care training with the support of Medline.

Learn about how Medline is helping customers improve skin health outcomes.

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Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline Newsroom Staff

Medline's newsroom staff researches and reports on the latest news and trends in healthcare.

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