Improving wound management for residents in Residential Aged Care Facilities: National dissemination and implementation of the evidence based Champions for Skin Integrity Program

Edwards, Helen E., Finlayson, Kathleen J., Parker, Christina, Jensen, Robert, & Finlayson, Kate (2015) Improving wound management for residents in Residential Aged Care Facilities: National dissemination and implementation of the evidence based Champions for Skin Integrity Program. Report to the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.



The incidence of skin tears, pressure injuries and chronic wounds increases with age [1-4] and therefore is a serious issue for staff and residents in Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACFs). A pilot project funded in Round 2 of the Encouraging Best Practice in Residential Aged Care (EBPRAC) program by the then Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing found that a substantial proportion of residents in aged care facilities experienced pressure injuries, skin tears or chronic wounds. It also found the implementation of the evidence based Champions for Skin Integrity (CSI) model of wound care was successful in significantly decreasing the prevalence and severity of wounds in residents, improving staff skills and knowledge of evidence based wound management, increasing staff confidence with wound management, increasing implementation of evidence based wound management and prevention strategies, and increasing staff awareness of their roles in evidence based wound care at all levels [5].

Importantly, during the project, the project team developed a resource kit on evidence based wound management. Two critical recommendations resulting from the project were that:

  • The CSI model or a similar strategic approach should be implemented in RACFs to facilitate the uptake of evidence based wound management and prevention

  • The resource kit on evidence based wound management should be made available to all Residential Aged Care Facilities and interested parties

A proposal to disseminate or rollout the CSI model of wound care to all RACFs across Australia was submitted to the department in 2012. The department approved funding from the Aged Care Services Improvement Healthy Ageing Grant (ACSIHAG) at the same time as the Round 3 of the Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care (EBPAC) program. The dissemination involved two crucial elements:

  1. The updating, refining and distribution of a Champions for Skin Integrity Resource Kit, more commonly known as a CSI Resource Kit and

  2. The presentation of intensive one day Promoting Healthy Skin “Train the Trainer” workshops in all capital cities and major regional towns across Australia

Due to demand, the department agreed to fund a second round of workshops focussing on regional centres and the completion date was extended to accommodate the workshops. Later, the department also decided to host a departmental website for a number of clinical domains, including wound management, so that staff from the residential aged care sector had easy access to a central repository of helpful clinical resource material that could be used for improving the health and wellbeing of their older adults, consumers and carers.

CSI Resource Kit Upgrade and Distribution: At the start of the project, a full evidence review was carried out on the material produced during the EBPRAC-CSI Stage 1 project and the relevant evidence based changes were made to the documentation. At the same time participants in the EBPRAC-CSI Stage 1 project were interviewed for advice on how to improve the resource material. Following this the documentation, included in the kit, was sent to independent experts for peer review. When this process was finalised, a learning designer and QUT’s Visual Communications Services were engaged to completely refine and update the design of the resources, and combined resource kit with the goal of keeping the overall size of the kit suitable for bookshelf mounting and the cost at reasonable levels. Both goals were achieved in that the kit is about the same size as a 25 mm A4 binder and costs between $19.00 and $28.00 per kit depending on the size of the print run.

The dissemination of the updated CSI resource kit was an outstanding success. Demand for the kits was so great that a second print run of 2,000 kits was arranged on top of the initial print run of 4,000 kits. All RACFs across Australia were issued with a kit, some 2,740 in total. Since the initial distribution another 1,100 requests for kits has been fulfilled as well as 1,619 kits being distributed to participants at the Promoting Healthy Skin workshops. As the project was winding up a final request email was sent to all workshop participants asking if they required additional kits or resources to distribute the remaining kits and resources. This has resulted in requests for 200 additional kits and resources. Feedback from the residential aged care sector and other clinical providers who have interest in wound care has been very positive regarding the utility of the kit, (see Appendix 4).

Promoting Healthy Skin Workshops

The workshops also exceeded the project team’s initial objective. Our goal of providing workshop training for staff from one in four facilities and 450 participants was exceeded, with overwhelming demand for workshop places resulting in the need to provide a second round of workshops across Australia. At the completion of the second round, 37 workshops had been given, with 1286 participants, representing 835 facilities. A number of strategies were used to promote the workshops ranging from invitations included in the kit, to postcard mail-outs, broadcast emailing to all facilities and aged care networks and to articles and paid advertising in aged care journals. The most effective method, by far, was directly phoning the facilities. This enabled the caller to contact the relevant staff member and enlist their support for the workshop. As this is a labour intensive exercise, it was only used where numbers needed bolstering, with one venue rising from 3 registrants before the calls to 53 registrants after.

The workshops were aimed at staff who had the interest and the capability of implementing evidence-based wound management within their facility or organisation. This targeting was successful in that a large proportion (68%) of participants were Registered Nurses, Nurse Managers, Educators or Consultants. Twenty percent were Endorsed Enrolled Nurses with the remaining 12% being made up of Personal Care Workers or Allied Health Professionals. To facilitate long term sustainability, the workshop employed train-the-trainer strategies. Feedback from the EBPRAC-CSI Stage 1 interviews was used in the development of workshop content. In addition, feedback from the workshop conducted at the end of the EBPRAC-CSI Stage 1 project suggested that change management and leadership training should be included in the workshops. The program was trialled in the first workshop conducted in Brisbane and then rolled out across Australia. Participants were asked to complete pre and post workshop surveys at the beginning and end of the workshop to determine how knowledge and confidence improved over the day. Results from the pre and post surveys showed significant improvements in the level of confidence in attendees’ ability to implement evidence based wound management. The results also indicated a significant increase in the level of confidence in ability to implement change within their facility or organisation. This is an important indication that the inclusion of change management/leadership training with clinical instruction can increase staff capacity and confidence in translating evidence into practice. To encourage the transfer of the evidence based content of the workshop into practice, participants were asked to prepare an Action Plan to be followed by a simple one page progress report three months after the workshop. These reports ranged from simple (e.g. skin moisturising to prevent skin tears), to complex implementation plans for introducing the CSI model across the whole organisation. Outcomes described in the project reports included decreased prevalence of skin tears, pressure injuries and chronic wounds, along with increased staff and resident knowledge and resident comfort. As stated above, some organisations prepared large, complex plans to roll out the CSI model across their organisation. These plans included a review of the organisation’s wound care system, policies and procedures, the creation of new processes, the education of staff and clients, uploading education and resource material onto internal electronic platforms and setting up formal review and evaluation processes. The CSI Resources have been enthusiastically sought and incorporated into multiple health care settings, including aged care, acute care, Medicare Local intranets (e.g. Map of Medicine e-pathways), primary health care, community and home care organisations, education providers and New Zealand aged and community health providers.

Recommendations: Recommendations for RACFs, aged care and health service providers and government  Skin integrity and the evidence-practice gap in this area should be recognised as a major health issue for health service providers for older adults, with wounds experienced by up to 50% of residents in aged care settings (Edwards et al. 2010). Implementation of evidence based wound care through the Champions for Skin Integrity model in this and the pilot project has demonstrated the prevalence of wounds, wound healing times and wound infections can be halved.  A national program and Centre for Evidence Based Wound Management should be established to: - expand the reach of the model to other aged care facilities and health service providers for older adults - sustain the uptake of models such as the Champions for Skin Integrity (CSI) model - ensure current resources, expertise and training are available for consumers and health care professionals to promote skin integrity for all older adults  Evidence based resources for the CSI program and similar projects should be reviewed and updated every 3 – 4 years as per NH&MRC recommendations  Leadership and change management training is fundamental to increasing staff capacity, at all levels, to promote within-organisation dissemination of skills and knowledge gained from projects providing evidence based training Recommendations for future national dissemination projects  A formal program of opportunities for small groups of like projects to share information and resources, coordinate activities and synergise education programs interactively would benefit future national dissemination projects

  • Future workshop programs could explore an incentive program to optimise attendance and reduce ‘no shows’

  • Future projects should build in the capacity and funding for increased follow-up with workshop attendees, to explore the reasons behind those who are unable to translate workshop learnings into the workplace and identify factors to address these barriers.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 83117
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: evidence based wound management, aged care, national dissemination, implementing evidence in practice
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > NURSING (111000) > Aged Care Nursing (111001)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Aged Health Care (111702)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Statement: This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, under the Encouraging Better Practice in Aged Care Program.
Deposited On: 07 Apr 2015 04:53
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2017 14:46

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