Wounds Australia are delighted to announce the winners of the 3M+KCI Skin Integrity & Wound Care Award.

Kate Weger & Damian Ley from Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & Vic) Inc
‘Wound Champion Program’

Kate & Damian work tirelessly to reduce the occurrence of wounds (particularly pressure injuries) and improve wound management across 17 residential aged care homes in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The wound champion program was created in late 2018 and each residential home has a nominated nurse who is the ‘go to’ clinician for wound management and healthy skin promotion. They liaise and network with other champions and refer particularly complex wounds to the internal wound specialist team (Kate & Damian) who review remotely and make suggestions for possible treatment regimes.

The program aims to minimise facility acquired pressure injuries and promote skin integrity to reduce the prevalence of wounds overall. Our initial goal was to have less than 40 facility acquired pressure injuries by the end of 2020, a goal which was achieved and has since been revised to less than 10 facility acquired pressure injuries by the end of 2021. In 2021 we are also increasing our focus on reducing the incidence of incontinence associated dermatitis (IAD) and skin tears. Specifically, we are aiming to have less than 5 residents with IAD by the end of 2021, in addition to halving the rate of skin tears.

Kate leads the wound champion program by fostering a culture of critical reasoning amongst nurses to achieve better outcomes for residents. She works closely with Damian to monitor wounds across the organisation via the master wound lists created in consultation with the wounds champions.

Between September 2019 and March 2021 there was a 76% reduction in the number of facility acquired pressure injuries, a 23% reduction in skin tears and a 20% reduction in total number of wounds. There are also many specific examples of tangible resident benefits which have been realised because of improvements in staff knowledge and confidence. One champion described herself as “a better leader for staff and a key resource for RNs in relation to wound management – providing mentorship and funneling information from the champion training back to the site”. Some of the improvements wound champions have noticed amongst other staff at their homes include a heightened focus on wound prevention and looking at wounds more holistically (e.g. considering how diet affects wound healing).

Kate & Damian will receive an educational grant of $4,000 that can be used towards their professional development.

The team here at Wounds Australia would like to congratulate Kate and Damian for their incredible achievements with the Wound Champion Program and for their ongoing commitment to reduce the harm caused by wounds.