Article Archive
September/October 2023

The Last Word: A New Perspective on Wound Care
By David Navazio
Today’s Geriatric Medicine
Vol. 16 No. 5 P. 34

Developing a Wound Care Culture

It may come as a little surprise to many of us in our industry: The presence of wounds in long term care and other health care facilities is significantly underreported, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Chicago. For too long, mere mention of the existence of patient wounds at a facility was looked upon as a stigma on quality. Although occasionally that stigma may be deserved, most of the time, wounds are simply a fact of life, especially in older adult health care. In order to improve wound care, the health care industry needs to take a new perspective on the presence of wounds.

The fact is a large number of residents/patients suffer from wounds, including pressure wounds, arterial and venous ulcers, diabetic ulcers, punctures, and skin tears. The industry must embrace the reality of the presence of wounds in order to take stock of the issue, develop workable standards, and make improvements. Once wound presence is normalized and not stigmatized, facilities can more readily adopt a wound care culture with the potential to benefit all parties—patient, facility, and industry—while reducing organizational expense and risk.

A culture is an environment of shared values and beliefs. By changing the wound care paradigm from the tactical cause and effect of wound care itself to making it a core institutional priority for improving patient care, our industry can transform wound care into a dynamic component of organizational character and brand.

Five steps toward creating a wound care culture within one’s organization include the following.

1. Wound Care Culture Starts at the Top
Defining and prioritizing a wound care culture must emanate from the top. Only when a wound care culture is embraced, supported, and promoted by both management and nursing leadership will it lead to more successful outcomes.

2. Commit to Wound Care Training and Continuing Education at All Levels
Develop a continuing education program that teaches wound care to all nursing staff and caregivers, especially regarding identifying wounds early and utilizing the best practices for treating them.

3. Make Wound Care a Daily Endeavor
Within a period of 24 hours, much can happen with a wound. Develop a protocol that makes the inspection, treatment, and dressing-changing an everyday activity, providing for the time and materials that staff need to make this standard of care happen.

4. Develop Institutional Memory
Install a computerized program that facilitates documentation and tracking of individual wound treatment and outcomes. Review activity and results to help finetune your program and measure your progress toward reaching goals.

5. Review Institutional Performance and Team Members Who Produce Positive Results
Turn wound care into a positive initiative where team members can be proud of their accomplishments in helping patients and improving outcomes.

By adopting a wound care culture, organizations can create a win-win-win environment for patients, staff, and the facility. When wound care becomes part of your organizational culture, it will serve as a valuable, positive measure of brand quality for patients, for health care facilities, and for our industry.

— David Navazio is president and CEO of Gentell (, one of North America’s largest wound care dressing manufacturers, manufacturing and supplying efficient, affordable patient-specific wound care treatments to nursing homes, hospitals, home care, hospices, and other providers.