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Let's Be Frank

What Defines a Real Resolution in Wound Care?

Attention to realistic goal-setting for the wound care provider and the wound clinic must be ongoing if we are to see actual fulfillment throughout the year.

Many of the goals that we have for ourselves are disguised as New Year’s resolutions. And while we may all have the best intentions when setting those goals—those often life-redefining promises we hope to keep—we face many obstacles between the proclaiming of our intentions and what we really have time to commit to. 

One of those obstacles is managing time. Time competes with so many daily distractions that can prevent us from reaching our long-term goals that often serve as short-term resolutions. Often, however, our time management and strategies are not as strong as our best intentions are. 

A recent online poll asked people about their goals, with the following popular responses reported: save more money, lose weight or get in shape, travel more, read more books, learn a new skill or hobby, and quit smoking.1 A separate poll asked Americans to report on how well they did with their resolutions.2 Interestingly 56% did not stick with their resolutions, with responses as to why they failed including loss of motivation, being too busy, changing one’s mind, and not having adequate support.

Sound familiar? Sometimes resolutions seem like they are born out of previously set goals that, although are well intended, turn out to be too demanding—don’t they? This year I’ve made the resolution not to set any resolutions, and I’ve been compliant with that so far. (Yes, it is only mid-January as I write this.) But I feel like I have set high enough standards for myself as a wound care clinician that I want to put most of my energy into ensuring that I can continue to successfully meet the challenges that I have set for myself as a provider and as a person ongoing.  

RESOLUTIONS, MEET GOALS

Most of my goals pertain to how I run my wound care service line, and I am not too bashful to ask all those who are reading this to look at how you run your clinics. How often do you set clinic goals and see success in sustaining those efforts? Often, clinic goals are set with objectives to be profitable (important because we want to keep the doors open), to have better outcomes, to increase the skills of the staff, to expand services, to bring in more patient referrals, and to fill positions of need.

But if these are goals that have been recently set with the changing of the calendar year, I fear that you will be noncompliant in your goal achieving. Areas of need such as continuing education and skills assessment, facility operations, billing and reimbursement, outcomes tracking, and the following of evidence-based medicine must be regularly addressed as opposed to the new year’s focuses. 

Shannon Murphy Robinson, co-founder of BrainSkills@Work and author of Neuroscience of Inclusion: Managing Unconscious Bias, recently held a seminar. She asked professionals to consider whether or not we allow our “biased” minds to develop new strategies to help us meet the goals we commonly set, or do we tend to go along with easily developed routines that become habits and prevent us from achieving new progress?  

Each January, it seems that many of us are interested in changing our bad habits, or habits in general, and changing certain behaviors, both professionally and personally, to reach lofty achievements.   

CHANGE CAN BE GOOD

If you feel that you and/or your clinic must resolve to change, ask yourself the following questions about your clinic:

• Is there a multidisciplinary team in place?

• Have leaders been identified?

• Does everyone serve the patient advocate role? 

• Are your billing and reimbursement procedures outlined and followed?

• Does staff celebrate successes and work on needed improvements as a team?

These are some of the high-level areas of focus that we must be mindful of if we can resolve to set realistic goals year to year and feel confident that we can achieve them. n

Frank Aviles Jr. is wound care service line director at Natchitoches (LA) Regional Medical Center; wound care and lymphedema instructor at the Academy of Lymphatic Studies, Sebastian, FL; physical therapy (PT)/wound care consultant at Louisiana Extended Care Hospital, Natchitoches; and PT/wound care consultant at Cane River Therapy Services LLC, Natchitoches.

Let's Be Frank
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Frank Aviles Jr., PT, CWS, FACCWS, CLT
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References

1. Statista Research Department. What are your 2018 resolutions? Available at https://www.statista.com/statistics/378105/new-years-resolution/. Published Aug. 9, 2019.

2. Urban Plates/Ipsos Poll 2020. New Year’s Resolutions. Available at https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/news/documents/2019-12/factum_topline_urban_plates_new_years_resolutions_12_11_2019.pdf . Published Dec. 11, 2019. 

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