As we age, maintaining our health becomes increasingly important. For Baby Boomers and adults caring for older parents, better health depends on wellness initiatives and receiving care from the proper professionals.
Yet for those suffering from wound, ostomy or continence issues, many don't realize they are denying themselves the best care available. They receive care for these conditions from general nurses without realizing that a specialized wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) nurse may be available to help them on their patient journey.
What is a WOC nurse?
According to the WOCN Society’s website, www.wocn.org, WOC nurses are “highly prepared expert clinicians who treat complex wounds, ostomy issues, and incontinence. WOC nurses serve in a variety of roles to assist patients, including educator, consultant, researcher, and administrator.” WOC nurses practice in a variety of settings, including hospitals, home health, and long-term care facilities.
Certified WOC nurses received their training through accredited WOC education programs and have been certified through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB). Only nurses earning this certification qualify as WOC specialists.
Benefits of a WOC nurse
If you're looking to better understand just how much impact a WOC nurse can have, consider this: Research from the University of Minnesota shows that patients who obtain care from a WOC nurse experience significantly more positive outcomes than those who do not. According to the research, patients who receive care from a WOC nurse are:
* Nearly twice as likely to have improvement in pressure injuries (bedsores).
* 20 percent more likely to have improvement in lower extremity ulcers.
* 40 percent more likely to have improvement in surgical wounds.
* 40 percent more likely to have improvement in urinary incontinence.
* 40 percent more likely to have improvement in bowel incontinence.
You can learn more about these findings and the other benefits provided by a specialized WOC nurse at www.wocn.org.
How to find a WOC nurse near you
While you may have never heard of a WOC nurse before, they are actually more common than you may think. There are more than 6,000 WOC nurses practicing across the country, and the WOCN Society’s website can provide you with the most accurate listing of WOC nurses in your area.
And lastly, don't be afraid to ask. You can ensure you or your loved one receives the care of a WOC nurse by requesting one from your medical provider. Don’t forget to make this request because there is nothing more important than your health. And if you’re dealing with a wound, ostomy or continence issue, you deserve the positive outcome your WOC nurse can provide.