CHICAGO (April 14, 2020)—To prepare for the flood of COVID-19 patients expected to inundate hospitals, larger volumes of higher acuity patients are being discharged into the home and community, including many wound care patients. Wound care patients already represent 36% of home health patients and require among the most complex, resource-intensive care. Providing quality wound care for these high-needs patients is challenging enough under regular circumstances. Under COVID-19, with greater staff shortages and personal protective equipment scarcity, wound care is becoming unmanageable, and patients are at increased risk of preventable complications.
To address this challenge, forward-thinking leaders have come together to form the Telewound Coalition: a trusted, best-practice collective of clinical experts, health care providers and technology innovators working together to provide access to immediate, remote wound care throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“The situation is evolving every day with COVID,” says Siobhán Gibney Gomis, Director, Home Health at Swift Medical. “And that’s why we’ve been in daily communication with many of our home health partners. They’re not backing away from these challenges. They’re still seeing their patients. And they need solutions to help them provide care under COVID.”
To help support home health workers at the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis, the coalition is releasing a new remote wound care service to Swift Medical’s existing network of home health providers at no cost. This service will enable home health nurses in the field to connect with remote wound care experts, whether within their own organization or through the Coalition’s provider network, to support clinical decision making and best-practices in the home.
The Coalition’s remote wound care service will:
- Support frontline care providers in delivering high quality wound care by enabling remote access to (internal or external) wound care experts, increasing timeliness and appropriateness of care.
- Reduce the number of necessary home health visits and the number of care providers that enter a patient’s home, mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the health of patients and staff.
- Streamline workflows and communication between frontline clinicians, doctors and other wound care experts to aid in developing treatment plans and completing physician orders, which are becoming increasingly delayed during COVID-19.
- Build capacity for home health agencies to accept more wound patient referrals from institutional care settings and reduce avoidable readmissions, freeing up much needed hospital beds.
“To respond to the demand for beds for COVID-19 patients, hospitals are rapidly moving patients from higher levels of acute care to the home and other care settings. Netsmart clients are at the forefront of post-acute care where there has never been greater adoption of virtual patient care,” states Dawn Iddings, senior vice president and general manager of Post-Acute with Netsmart. “Netsmart care providers across home health, hospice, private duty, assisted/independent living and skilled nursing are requesting help and the Swift wound care solution gives our clients what they need at this time.”
Swift Medical’s home health solution is a key element of a broader, industry-collaborative COVID-19 response designed to scale remote, connective wound care nationally, across the entire continuum of care. The Telewound Coalition represents an ecosystem approach to seamlessly integrate the entire wound care value chain, share and foster best practices and optimize the delivery of care for patients—throughout and beyond this pandemic. With this initiative, the Coalition is immediately connecting over 2,000 wound care nurses and doctors with Swift Medical’s network of over 3,500 healthcare organizations.
“Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) is proud to join the coalition,” says Nancy Morgan, co-founder for WCEI. “We are excited about expanding the reach of our Wound Care Education to ensure every American can access wound care, anywhere.”
Given the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic, the coalition will continue to expand its membership and amass additional expertise, resources and capabilities needed to support patients and their providers throughout this crisis.
The Telewound Coalition is a network of wound care experts and innovators joining to provide ongoing, remote wound management. If your organization is interested in accessing the coalition, as either a health care provider in need of remote wound care or an organization who can support the delivery of remote wound care, please visit telewoundnow.org.