Audrey Morris, NP, is no stranger to memorable patient stories. As a nurse practitioner in a hospital wound care department, she’s seen and experienced more than her fair share. But there was one story that she couldn’t forget, and that led to a new chapter in her career.
A few years ago, a diabetic patient who had experienced a below-the-knee amputation (BKA), came in for an early morning appointment. When Audrey went back through the waiting room at the end of the day, the woman was still there. This was a patient who came in for routine wound care and Audrey was curious to find out more. She discovered that the patient’s daughter dropped her off on her way to work and couldn’t pick her up until after she left work at the end of the day. It meant for a very long day for a woman who was incontinent, alone, often had nothing to eat, and diabetic.
Dealing with a heartbreaking situation
Unfortunately, the situation is not out of the ordinary for wound care patients. In her role at the hospital, Audrey was seeing that many wound care patients are economically disadvantaged and have no access to transportation. Like the patient who had to sit all day in the waiting room, many wound care patients’ family members often work during normal office hours and can’t afford to take time off to transport a loved one to an appointment.
“It was such a heartbreaking situation,” recalls Audrey. “Then a light bulb went off. I realized it was time to create a service that would preserve patients’ integrity while ensuring they got the care needed.”
Launching a solution
Realizing that service that comes to the home is a lifesaver for family and caregivers in more ways than one, Audrey decided to offer wound care services in patients’ homes. She resigned from her position in December of 2017 and started Wound Care 2U in January of 2018. In just under three years, she grew the company to one covering hundreds of square miles, employing six providers and covering nearly 400 patients.
Not only do Audrey and her team provide vital care services, they also share important education and guidance on basic treatments and prevention. She and her team visit patients with a variety of wounds on a weekly basis. The typical patient is a Medicare beneficiary and often a diabetic who ends up with pressure ulcers or other skin conditions related to the disease.
Improving the patient experience and outcomes
Care in a home setting is far more than just convenient. Recent studies have shown that people heal quicker and are happier in their own homes.1,2 Plus, as COVID continues, seeing patients in their homes minimizes the risk of contagion.
Additional benefits of at-home care are improved quality, reduced admissions and cost savings.2 Audrey reports that the hospital she works within the Dallas/Ft. Worth area has launched a transitional care program. Patients diagnosed with criteria indicating a need for wound care are enrolled in a home care program. Internal program analysis shows patients are less likely to bounce back to the ER. “Home care for patients with wounds is a simple investment that can save millions of dollars,” Audrey reports.
While wound care at home has challenges and is not for everyone, for Audrey the rewards are well worth it. She recalls a recent patient who had a BKA due to complications from diabetes. The patient ended up with an open wound for more than three years, causing pain, discomfort and a lack of mobility.
She was unable to wear her prosthetic due to the open wound. Her children had to work and were unable to get her into follow-up appointments at the wound care clinic. The patient spent most of her time in bed and in pain. Following the start of routine visits and care from Audrey, the wound gradually began to heal. Soon she was able to wear her prosthetic. “One of my happiest moments as a caregiver was when I got a picture from this patient’s kids showing her standing up and with a big smile on her face,” recalls Audrey. “Those are the moments that make this so worth the effort.”
“Boom Boom and ready to go” with Net Health® Wound Care
Developing a home-based wound care program can seem daunting. Audrey received help from her local hospital and from the Net Health® Wound Care (formerly WoundExpert®) team. “The Net Health Wound Care team helped me create templates and progress notes to ensure I was MIPS-compliant and that I got a rebate,” she recalls. “Net Health Wound Care gives me the ability to take pictures, upload charts, and do exactly what I need to as a mobile wound care provider. Plus, because it provides accessibility on a smartphone, tablet or laptop, and has an easy-to-use table stylus, it’s boom boom and I’m ready to go, no matter where I am!”
The Net Health team applauds Audrey’s approach to innovation and care and is proud to be part of her solution to caring for those in need in her community.
If you are interested in finding out about wound care in the home and how Net Health’s suite of products and services can help, contact us today at 1-800-411-6281, option 3.
6 Best Practices from Industry Experts to Ensure a Thriving Wound Care Business
Authored by well-known industry expert and influencer in the wound care community, Cathy Hess, BSN, RN, CWCN, VP/Chief Clinical Officer for Wound Care at Net Health
1 J Am Geriatr Soc, “Increased satisfaction with care and lower costs: results of a randomized trial of in-home palliative care,” Brumley R, Enguidanos S, Jamison P, et al.
2Annals of Internal Medicine, “Hospital Care at Home for Acutely ill Adults,” Levine D, Ouchi K, Blanchfield B, et. al.