We at Panhandle Home Health are deeply honored and truly humbled to be named a finalist for the Shepherd University WISH Grant! Winning this grant award will enable our Agency to move forward with our Advanced Wound Care Initiative and provide specialized training and certification to six of our professional nursing staff. This advanced training provides wound management expertise right at the bedside to a vulnerable patient population with multiple diseases or conditions which compromise wound healing. These patients may not otherwise have access to such an advanced level of care – and it will be provided in the comfort of home!


Panhandle Home Health Advanced Wound Care Initiative



Panhandle Home Health, Incorporated (PHHI) is currently the only partner in a regional study launched by the WV University Health Sci-ence Center and School of Nursing that is focused on developing protocols and procedures for increased expert wound monitoring and management for patients who are recovering at home. There is specialized training known as the Wound Care Certification (WCC), availa-ble to providers of wound assessment, evaluation, management and care at home. The intensive, week-long training course for the WCC teaches RNs how to differentiate wound types and the appropriate care for each; how to recognize the effects that chronic diseases like cancer, heart conditions, diabetes, or COPD have on wound healing; how to understand various wound-care product categories and their implementation; the implications of specific wound-healing techniques; and how to provide patient education on cleanliness to ally wound infection and its complications. Panhandle Home Health wishes to provide this specialized training to six Registered Nurses.

The Wound Care and Ostomy Certification (WCC) courses are held two times a year in Pennsylvania and Maryland, the sites closest to Mar-tinsburg. The plan is to send four nurses in October, 2015, and two nurses in early 2016 for training.


Wound care involves not only elderly and patients with chronic diseases who often heal poorly, but also relatively healthy and younger patients, including children, who are simply recovering from surgery and must fight complicated infections that compromise their surgical wound health. For young and old alike, it is critical that wound care be well managed so that patients can return to their pre-surgical or pre-wound lives. Currently PHHI has only one RN on staff with the certification. That nurse is constantly in demand for consultation with other staff and with patients’ care teams. PHHI regards this training of additional nurses as a vital component of their commitment to pro-vide the best possible crisis-care health services.

Over a two year period, the grant will fund training costs, lodging, meals and mileage for a total of six nurses – four in year one and two in year two. Additionally, it will provide RN coverage for the nurses while attending training.


RNs with the WCC can provide specialized consultation and a unique supervisory level of clinical expertise in wound assessment and care needs. With additional RNs holding the WCC, many more patients’ wound scenarios can be addressed quickly and/or can be escalated to the physician for review and possible immediate medication or treatment. PHHI nurses cover six geographic locations: Jefferson County, South Berkeley County, North Berkeley County, Martinsburg, Hedgesville, and Berkeley Springs. Every effort is made to assign nurses close to their home location to reduce travel times and mileage. It is the intent of the program to have one WCC nurse in each geographic area to provide timely review of all wound patients.


The site team learned the following after their visit with the staff: Over fifty percent of the patients require this specialized care and cur-rently only one staff member is certified. In 2013, wound care was provided to 346 patients with a total of 733 wounds. In 2014, this num-ber almost doubled. Training more nurses in this specialized, complex treatment will meet the goal of decreased suffering of all patients with wounds, speed recovery time, and decrease the need for re-hospitalization thus reducing the impact on health care costs for the entire region. Nurses that are trained will be required to commit to PHHI for 5 years.