As I write this, I’m on my flight home from the Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care 2012 which was held at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thank you to the conference chairpersons, Sharon Baranoski, MSN, RN, CWCN, APN, DAPWCA, FAAN and Richard Salcido, MD. It was an informative, well-organized, and fun conference!

I was particularly drawn to the sessions which addressed skin care and pressure ulcer management at the end of life. Even in the keynote address, Legally Defensible Wound Care, presented by Caroline E. Fife, MD, CWS and Kevin W. Yankowsky, JD, this was a theme. An interactive case presentation was the format and we, the audience, got to share our opinions/votes by holding up a red or green card to questions such as “Was this pressure ulcer a result of negligence?”, “Would you take the case?”, and “Should the hospital be sued?”, among many others. During the presentation, an interesting observation was shared. When a cause of death is identified as ‘heart failure’ or ‘renal failure,’ a response of sympathy often results; however, a cause of death of ‘skin failure’ often leads to more negative responses, such as “that never should have happened” or even a search for somewhere or someone on which to place blame. 

The lesson that I learned, both from this keynote address and from a session titled Skin & Wound Care at Life’s End: Clinical Considerations, presented by Sharon Baranoski, MSN, RN, CWCN, APN, DAPWCA, FAAN, is that the skin is an organ and at the end of life, it will fail just as the heart and kidneys and other organs do. Despite optimal care and evidence-based interventions for skin and wound care, skin failure and pressure ulcers often are unavoidable at the end of life. 

Here are some more highlights from the conference:

  • Book signing! Sharon Baranoski, MSN, RN, CWCN, APN, DAPWCA, FAAN and Elizabeth Ayello, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CWON, MAPWCA, FAAN were on hand to sign their book Wound Care Essentials, Third Edition. 
  • Exhibit Hall! The exhibitors shared their products in dynamic ways, including wound care karaoke & dressing change races.
  • Quotes! Looking back on my notes, I just have to share these wise words that were shared.
    • “The keys to preventive legal care and effective communication are managing expectations beforehand and answering questions afterward.” Kevin W. Yankowsky, JD
    • “Edema is the real enemy.” Sandra Wainwright, MD (discussing chronic venous hypertension ulcers)
    • “Anytime cartilage is present, you have a stage IV pressure ulcer.” Diane K. Langemo, PhD, RN, FAAN
    • “If there is stable eschar on a heel, leave it alone!” Diane K. Langemo, PhD, RN, FAAN
    • “We all own pressure ulcers, not just nurses.” Elizabeth Ayello, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CWON, MAPWCA, FAAN
    • “The Braden scale accounts for most risk factors for pressure ulcers, but we also need to think about perfusion, age, comorbidities, and if the patient has a history of pressure ulcers.” Dr. Janet Cuddigan

You can see some pictures from the conference on our Facebook page. Next year, this conference will be held in Orlando, FL on October 24-27, 2013. It would be great to see you there!