Guest Editorial: Interprofessional Wound Caring and the IWC Model¬©
Through the years, wound care practice models have evolved from a group of individuals working in management “silos” to multidisciplinary teams and finally to integrated interprofessional teams. The interprofessional approach became the framework for what was developed into the Interprofessional Wound Caring (IWC) Model© (see Figure 1), a transition that reflects a maturing of the discipline of wound care, a new appreciation for the process of wound caring, and the integration of wound care’s scientific evidence base with expert knowledge and patient preference (evidence-informed practice).
When healthcare professionals collaborate side-by-side with mutual respect, the experience and wisdom shared positively impacts patient care outcomes. Interprofessional Wound Caring requires that professionals develop patient-centered and individualized plans of care. Wound care providers should nurture trust by listening to and acknowledging the viewpoints of patients, families, and caregivers. This trust leads to the confidence that heals wounds, patients, and lives.
The IWC Model© has seven dimensions:
1. Patient, Family, and Caregivers
2. Healthcare Professional’s Wound Care Expertise
3. The Interprofessional Team
4. Healthcare Professional’s Patient-Centered Caring
5. Continuous Professional Development and Life-long Learning
6. Knowledge Transfer to Practice
7. Informal Communities of Practice.1
We challenge you to analyze how your current practice model compares and contrasts with the IWC Model®. Then ask yourself and other members of your team how you can improve your interprofessional wound caring practice model. Additionally, we challenge you to complete your own personal score card and to construct your personal learning portfolio for your continuous professional development and life-long learning.
Interprofessional Wound Caring: A Lifelong Quest for PEACE
P Not only do patients, their families, and caregivers need the wound care expert’s professional knowledge and skill, but they also require the expertise of other members of the interprofessional team. Each professional mix will be unique when care is individualized and patient-centered.
E Expertise in wound care comprises knowledge of the evidence base, the skills and knowledge gained from clinical experience, and the attitudes and values we bring to practice as individuals. As healthcare professionals, we must commit to life-long learning through experience. We learn from the literature and educational programs; we also must learn from our experiences with colleagues.
A Approach wound care with a caring attitude that is patient-centered.
C Collaboration in teams helps fill gaps in knowledge, broadens perspectives, and optimizes care delivery. We also must work toward collaboration with chronic wound patients, their families, and caregivers. We must acknowledge that patients who have a social network of caregivers, family, friends, and concerned acquaintances are likely to have far better outcomes that those individuals who are socially isolated.2
E Empathy and the human touch – ie, reaching out to patients, families, and caregivers – builds the trust and confidence that heals wounds, patients, and lives. We can make the world a better place as we improve the lives of people with chronic wounds by combining interprofessional understanding, collaboration, and life-long learning. Here’s to interprofessional wound caring and the quest for PEACE.
This article was not subject to the Ostomy Wound Management peer-review process.