A call for a systems approach to
By Jeanine Maguire, MPT, CWS
As both a certified wound specialist and physical therapist, I promote the collaboration of the interprofessional team for skin and wound management success at Genesis HealthCare. A true interdisciplinary team consists of primary caregivers, providers, residents and family members, nurses, therapists, dietitians and others.
Before coming to Genesis 17 years ago, I worked in acute care and outpatient settings, beginning to focus my career on skin and wound management. My first position at a Genesis center was as director of rehabilitation, and I was fortunate enough to partner with the director of nursing. We did rounds together and recognized the difference a team approach to care could make.
Today I support a systems approach to skin and wound management to approximately 440 Genesis facilities. I lead our Product Review Committee and Skin Integrity Practice Council, which includes certified wound nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, divisional nurses from around the country, dieticians, clinical risk managers and physical therapists. Depending on the project, we sometimes collaborate with pharmacy, business, property management, budget management and operations, as well as vendor partners.
My thinking on skin has evolved over my career. Like many clinicians, I believe that skin is a window into the health of the entire human body, giving insight into the overall state of homeostasis. If a resident or patient has skin breakdown, sometimes he or she may have other issues, such as medical, physical or psychosocial, or changes in medication, and the skin breakdown or wound may actually be an unavoidable symptom of an even bigger issue.