Does Your Non-Acute Facility Need a Dedicated Wound Care Specialist?

March 25, 2024
Nurse wrapping hand in guaze

Wound care specialists are healthcare professionals who have been trained to treat all types of wounds, such as those from an acute injury or surgery as well as diabetic wounds and pressure sores. Specialists can be nurses, physicians or physical therapists who have been specially trained in wound care.

When a wound has not healed within four weeks or after care has been provided, it’s considered a chronic wound, according to Open Access Government. The wounds can be extremely painful, both psychologically and physically, for patients. 

Chronic wounds affect 10.5 million Medicare beneficiaries, according to an article by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This is up from 2.3 million in 2014, with chronic wounds now affecting nearly 2.5% of the total U.S. population. This underscores the need for specialized wound care, especially as the population ages and cases of diabetes increase, both of which contribute to the growth in chronic wound cases.

“The demand for wound care products is increasing owing to the increasing number of surgical cases and the rising prevalence of chronic diseases across the globe,” notes Grand View Research. “Furthermore, the increasing incidence of diabetes due to a sedentary lifestyle is one of the leading factors contributing to market growth.


Non-acute care facilities have options for ensuring their patients or residents have access to a wound care specialist:

  • Hire a wound care expert on staff
  •  Sponsor wound care training for an existing staff member
  • Outsource wound care to a third party that visits the facility on a preset schedule
  • Refer the patient to a wound care center

Healthcare organizations that elect to hire an in-house wound care specialist can realize myriad advantages. For example, a specialist can potentially provide a faster path to healing by knowing the best approach to treatment, which can save money and improve patient outcomes.

Specialists know the most appropriate type of product to use for each type of wound. This is important because some products need to be left on for a specific amount of time to work correctly, and different types of wounds may require specific treatments. Similarly, specialists understand overall treatment costs and realize that higher short-term expenses may lead to long-term gains.

For example, if providers can heal a wound in three to four weeks using the proper dressings—even if those dressings are more expensive than alternative products—it’s better for the patient and cost containment strategies than requiring six months to heal the wound using less expensive products. 

In addition, specialists can assess patient wounds to recommend the most optimal treatment, closely supervise the wound to ensure it’s healing properly and treat complex wounds. The specialized training can also help reduce the risk of complications such as infections, inform patients how to best take care of their wound and dressings between medical visits, and consider a patient’s medical history to customize a treatment plan, if needed.

Another benefit is that wound care specialists understand how to handle the documentation and insurance coding for the facility. This ensures organizations receive timely and accurate reimbursement.


While physicians and nurses who don’t have advanced training can treat some wounds, non-healing and sophisticated wounds may require a specialist. However, specialists are not required for non-acute facilities that do treat wounds.
Organizations serving a large patient population that commonly have wounds, such as a long-term care facility or skilled nursing facility, can benefit from having a specialist on staff. A wound care expert who understands end-to-end treatments can care for patients or residents in-house. This avoids the inconvenience to patients of sending them to another facility, which improves patient experiences. It can also enable the provider to bill for the service.
In addition, facilities can leverage their specialists’ knowledge of wound care to proactively inform at-risk patients about how to avoid wounds. “A wound care specialist can identify potential warning signs, such as redness or swelling around the injury site, that may indicate the presence of an infection or delayed healing,” according to American Wound Care

“GPOs have relationships with wound care suppliers to offer members a diverse range of products to meet their needs. ”


A group purchasing organization (GPO) can help members in home healthcare, long-term care, clinics, physician practices and other non-acute facilities purchase wound care products at competitive rates. For example, Provista has everything needed for wound care, including dressings and wound sutures, at industry-best prices.
GPOs can also streamline processes for procuring wound care products, reducing the administrative work for facilities and simplifying the buying process. Similarly, GPOs have relationships with wound care suppliers to offer members a diverse range of products to meet their needs. This includes specialized products, the latest dressings and specialized equipment.

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