I would like to ask a question about whether a referral to a WOC nurse may be appropriate in a particular situation. I am currently a second year nursing student; so while I do know something
about wound care, my knowledge on this subject is not particularly specialized. My grandpa spent 4 weeks in a Cardiovascular ICU and was transferred to the Burn ICU here about two weeks ago. He has no burn injuries, but the cardiovascular ICU had to make room for additional surgical patients, so my grandpa was moved at that time. He has been suffering from a variety of conditions (seizures, pneumonia, etc.).
The burn unit nurse told my mom yesterday that my grandpa had developed pressure sores on his back, and the RN said that she was putting "cream" on the sores to treat them. The nurse is not putting a dressing on the sores, because (as she says, and perhaps rightfully so) my grandpa moves around in bed a lot (although he's not fully conscious) and his moving around would keep pulling the dressings off. (I have not seen the sores myself, and the nurse did not describe the sores in detail to my mom; however, I would assume that they are at least stage II ulcers if the nurse took the time to even mention them to my mom). When my mom described this to me, I told her that I thought it may be prudent to have a WOC nurse take a look at the sores in order to give an assessment about how best to treat them. So when my mom went in to the hospital today, she did ask the same nurse if it would be possible to have a WOC consult done. The burn unit nurse replied, "Well, we are
the wound experts here. After all, this is
a burn unit." The nurse seemed very put off that someone would even ask her such a thing.
Can you tell me what you think? I have a hard time believing that "cream" in and of itself will be enough to promote sufficient healing. Am I wrong to think this? In a home health position I used to have, when I used to help with dressing wounds for a quadriplegic, I used a variety of different wound dressing techniques and types.
My grandpa has been on an air mattress for the whole 6 weeks that he's been in the hospital, but I'm concerned that if these sores continue to get worse that his prognosis will continue to decline. My intent is not to upset the burn unit nurse by pursuing this further, but it does seem to me that we should be able to get a WOC consult if it is requested.
Any and all advice would be greatly