Kaitlin credits Critical Care nurses Terri Gardner and Toni Lampe, and Respiratory Therapist Billee Carman for making an important discovery when they took a thermal image of a patient who was dependent on a home-use respiratory device. “We thought this would be a great project to see if our patients who are using respiratory devices at home [such at CPAPP machines] are coming in with temperature changes, so we could start prevention protocols on them too,” Kaitlin said. “It’s critical to catch the sores early, because once they start, they typically progress into deeper ulcers that take a long time to heal and that have the potential to become infected.”
As part of the admission questionnaire, respiratory therapists now learn which patients are using at-home respiratory devices, so they can take baseline, thermal images of their faces. The photos are reviewed by wound care nurses. and prevention measures are started at once, whether or not the patients have skin abnormalities at the time.
Additionally, “whenever patients are started on BiPap or non-invasive ventilation, we now apply skin prep and add some extra padding underneath their devices,” Lexie said. “Skin care was not one of our top concerns, but now it is. As soon as Kaitlin made us aware of the issue, we started looking at different products to help prevent wounds. The respiratory therapy department is excited about being part of the solution.”