“There is so much more to taking care of a wound than changing the dressing,” says FMH Home Health Wound Care Clinician Theresa Shenk. “We look at the entire patient: his or her general health status, primary diagnosis, nutritional profile and lifestyle habits. Promoting healing in certain patients can be very complex, so everything about the care must be individualized and carried out scrupulously.”
FMH Home Health patient Margaret Dempsey of Middletown can attest to the delicate balancing act that wound care can be. Eleven years ago, she had a splinter from a piece of driftwood removed from the third finger of her right hand. Despite her efforts to keep the area clean and dry over the years, Mrs. Dempsey, who is also a diabetic, experienced frequent flare-ups at the wound site.
At a doctor’s appointment, she was surprised to learn that the troublesome wound was now the site of a squamous cell cancer, and would require amputation below the first joint.
During her recovery, Mrs. Dempsey has received visits twice weekly from FMH Home Health Care nurse Kae Wiles. Nurse Wiles typically takes Mrs. Dempsey’s vital signs, examines the wound site for any signs of infection and evaluates the healing process.While the nurse changes the dressing, the two often discuss shared passions like the Baltimore Ravens and cooking—something Mrs. Dempsey says she looks forward to and appreciates as much as her
During a recent visit,Wiles devised a way to tape the right-handed Mrs. Dempsey’s fingers to provide better mobility and pain relief, a procedure that she says has given her more
freedom to do things she used to do before the surgery.
Nurse Wiles also played an important role in teaching Mrs. Dempsey how to control risk factors, and spot early signs of skin breakdown and infection. This type of education significantly reduces the need for wound care patients to travel to their physicians’ offices for treatment.
“I don’t know what I’d do without Kae,” said Mrs. Dempsey. “We’ve been together a long time, and no matter what, she always knows just what to do.”