Highmark Foundation Grant Enhances Efforts to Reduce Pressure Ulcers

The Kane Regional Centers have achieved the initial goals of a two-year project that was designed to support the development of a preventive skin care program as well as an advanced wound care treatment program. The endeavor was made possible by a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation in 2010.

Pressure ulcers are a frequent occurrence in health care settings. Addressing the management of pressure ulcers has become a national health care issue as it has been associated with a greater risk of morbidity and mortality. An estimated $11 billion is spent each year in the U.S. to treat pressure ulcers. The 2010 grant assisted in reviewing, and if necessary, revising and reformulating processes and systems so that pressure ulcers do not occur in the facility environment. The program has helped Kane advance in the healing of wounds of all types using advanced technologies.

A portion of the Highmark Foundation grant funded a certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN).  As a WOCN, Diane Heasely has helped to further develop and refine treatment protocols that have resulted in lower facility acquired wounds and faster healing rates. Under her leadership, 10 registered nurses at the Kane Regional Centers have become wound certified by the National Alliance of Wound Care. Wound care certification indicates expertise in the identification, assessment, prevention and continuing evaluation of patients with alterations in skin and tissue integrity.

“Without a doubt, education is the key to improving our rates even more,” said Heasely. “Our facilities are participating in the Advancing Excellence in America’s Nursing Homes project as well as the Quality Insights Pressure Ulcer Prevention Project for Pennsylvania where our nurses continue to hone their skills for sustained success.”

“Reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers is important,” said Yvonne Cook, president, Highmark Foundation.  “Not only will this program affect health care dollars, it will also address quality of life issues.”

The success of the Highmark Foundation grant has led to the Kane Regional Centers being selected as 1 of 10 finalists for the prestigious Fine Awards<em>,</em> which honor healthcare teams whose achievement in improving quality, safety, and efficiency in transitions of care<em> </em>stands out.

For more information please contact Bill LaLonde at 412.736-9974 or wlalonde@alleghenycounty.us.

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