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Home health care in the time of COVID-19: How to transfer knowledge using digital formats like podcasts

Pflegerin verbindet Mann zu Hause.

COVID-19 has unsettled many patients. They are currently shielding and do not want to attend a clinic or a doctor’s practice, with others being afraid of letting nursing staff into their own homes. In these stressful times, medical staff can continue to help patients with chronic wounds by taking control of their condition. Podcasts might help patients and healthcare professionals to empower those living with a chronic wound by getting them prepared for wound management.

The current SARS-CoV-2-pandemic affects many aspects of life – even aspects that, at first glance, would not seem connected. As one example, patients with chronic wounds who are treated at home, rather than in clinics, during the pandemic also have less overall contact with healthcare experts.

This lack of contact can result in a restriction of care, extending the intervals between dressing changes, meaning that self-care must become part of the patients treatment plan. As a result, an important prerequisite for the ability to manage these efforts is that patients themselves learn to take over responsibility to a greater extent in order to improve their health.

Fortunately, however, podcasts are particularly well suited for "contactless" knowledge transfer: Complex topics can be explained and understood step-by-step as well as in great detail in this socially distanced format.

Podcasts: growing constantly during the pandemic

The high potential of podcasts is reflected in their product range. During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, and even before it, the range of podcasts has grown rapidly – including podcasts focusing on special topics. Shortly after the introduction of the pandemic’s contact restrictions, podcast specialists at the platform “Podigee” recorded increasing downloads and a rising number of new podcast episodes in Germany alone, where the preferred topics are news and science.

The European Wound Management Association (EWMA) also provides educational resources in the form of an English-language podcast for healthcare professionals. The six episodes that have already been released, deal with a wide variety of topics in the field of wound care, from the diabetic foot treatment, the implementation of further training measures in one’s own organisation and wound care in the era of COVID-19.1

Tips for the patients themselves and for the home care staff

"Wound Care Essentials during COVID-19”2 is a specific EWMA podcast aimed primarily at those healthcare professionals who are not specialised in wound care. At the start of the pandemic, Julie Jordan O’Brien, a reconstructive surgical nurse at Ireland’s Beaumont Hospital, provided practical information: Patients who can or want to care for themselves should still be cared for. Nursing staff should ensure that these patients know about proper hand hygiene and that they have sufficient material available for wound care*. In addition, all self-care should be documented and monitored remotely. For emergencies, the telephone number of the nearest care centre should be recorded.

How wounds can be cleaned and treated as painlessly as possible

According to O’Brien, necrotic tissue, calluses, scabs or other non-viable tissue would have to be removed from a wound regularly. However, during debridement, medical staff should carefully consider the patient’s condition, the appearance of the wound and their own skills. Hydrogels or hydrocolloids* could also loosen and soften the dead tissue – thus facilitating debridement as painlessly as possible.

According to O’Brien, as to which dressing is best – whether non-adhesive simple dressings, absorbent foams* or antibacterial silicone dressings – depends on the respective treatment objective and should be carefully considered. Antibacterial dressings under compression, for example, allow bacteria to reduce odor and exudate – and therefore have a longer wear time.

If you would like to get even more practical knowledge, the English-language Lohmann & Rauscher website offers helpful tips and step-by-step video explanations on all aspects of self-care that is suitable for both patients and healthcare professionals.3

FURTHER INFORMATION

  1. EWMA Podcasts – all episodes & notes, European Wound Management Association
  2. Wound Care Essentials during COVID-19, European Wound Management Association
  3. Guidance for self-care at home, Lohmann & Rauscher
  4. Johnny Vegas partners with L&R to support the self care revolution in venous leg ulcer management, Lohmann & Rauscher

*Commercial Communication

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