Elizabeth Donathan, DNP, MS, APRN, FNP-BC, CPT
Chronic non-healing wounds are a health disparity and the burden of chronic wounds continues to increase. Diabetic patients are at high risk for developing chronic wounds due to uncontrolled blood glucose, vascular compromise, mobility impairments and body habitus. A large population of diabetic patients suffer with chronic wounds. Diabetes has an increasing global prevalence, and 8% of the United States population has diabetes. The following focused on the diabetic patient population with chronic non-healing wounds. Causes, risk factors, and challenges were explored to offer insight to preventive measures. Current research suggests that treatment noncompliance may be related to an educational barrier and addressing the educational barrier will help increase wound healing outcomes. The patients’ limited understanding of the diabetic disease process presents challenges to wound healing. Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory was utilized as the theoretical nursing framework for this Doctoral Nursing Practice (DNP) capstone project. This project addressed the health disparity by presenting educational information to the diabetic patient at the time of the clinical encounter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Framework for Program Evaluation in Public Health was used to evaluate the project’s success. Results showed 85% of the patients presented with the education verbalized an increased understanding of how diabetes affects wound healing. These results suggest that providing educational material to all patients during each encounter will increase the patients’ understanding and support improved healing and health outcomes. The recommendation is to present evidence-based information, that is relevant and easy for the patient to understand, during every patient encounter.