American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

American College of Surgeons Launches Home Skills Program for Surgical Patients Who Require Complex Wound Management

Smith & Nephew grant will allow for the development and distribution of resources to educate patients and families about delivering self-care


CHICAGO (April 14, 2015): The American College of Surgeons (ACS) today announced a new initiative to improve outcomes for patients requiring complex wound management. ACS will release a novel structured teaching and verification program that utilizes engaging media and self-assessment checklists to educate surgical patients and their families about delivering self-care for wound conditions.  An estimated 60 percent of wounds managed in the home occur in patients following their discharge after surgical treatment and the ACS program will address a critical gap in the availability of standardized patient education resources.

The health care system has focused significant resources on reducing surgical site wound infections and complication rates in the ICU and hospitalized patients, but there has been little emphasis on helping the patient and their family to manage their wound care post-discharge, or supporting health care professionals with resources for educating patients.  The ACS Complex Wound Management program will support the patient in making an informed choice and support the surgeon with evidence-based content that meets the guidelines for health literacy, informed consent, and surgical patient safety.

“Ninety percent of ACS members who completed a 2014 patient education survey reported needing wound care resources. This program provides instruction in print and digital formats, educational checklists, and home care monitoring guides for surgical professionals to utilize with their patients.  Evaluations from both patients and professionals will identify the best methods for home wound care management,” Kathleen Heneghan, MSN, RN, Assistant Director, ACS Patient Education Program, said.   “The standardized training guide and education plan, objectives, and skill verification measures for professionals will also help to consistently implement best practices.” 

The Surgical Patient Education Program of the ACS Division of Education plans to produce, distribute and evaluate 4,000 home skills kits over the next two years with support from an educational grant from Smith & Nephew. “There is a well-defined need for evidence-based wound care education designed to improve outcomes and instill best practices,” commented Glenn Warner, president of Smith & Nephew’s Advanced Wound Management division. “We welcome the opportunity to support an ACS initiative that engages and empowers patients and their caregivers in achieving these important objectives.”

The wound management program is the third in a series developed by the ACS Surgical Patient Education Program, building on the success of the ACS home skills program for patients with an ostomy and the recently announced program for patients requiring an enteral feeding tube.  Each program provides the opportunity for patients and their caregivers to learn and practice the skills needed for optimal recovery and improved quality of life.  

“Standardized wound education and training modules support an equitable and effective patient‐centered program available to all surgeons, nurses and patients.  The adherence to guidelines and providing engaging visual methods to communicate care needed for recovery is an effective way to improve quality, reduce variation in care and improve financial performance,” ACS Executive Director David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, said.

In order to develop a national consensus on the best methods to teach patients and their families about complex wound management, this program is being developed in collaboration with patients, the Advisory Councils of the American College of Surgeons for general, plastic, gynecological, vascular, and orthopedic surgery, and the American College of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care, and the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses.

NOTE: An announcement will be made when patients and surgical professionals will be able to order the wound management home skills kit via the ACS website.  The educational content of the kit will also be available on the ACS website. 

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and to improve the care of the surgical patient. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 80,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. The American College of Surgeons Foundation was established in 2005 to provide philanthropic support for the research, education, and patient safety programs of the American College of Surgeons.

About Smith & Nephew
Smith & Nephew, Inc. is a global medical technology business dedicated to helping healthcare professionals improve people’s lives.  With leadership positions in Orthopedic Reconstruction, Advanced Wound Management, Sports Medicine and Trauma & Extremities, Smith & Nephew has around 14,000 employees and a presence in more than 100 countries. Annual sales in 2014 were than $4.6 billion. Smith & Nephew is a member of the FTSE100 (LSE: SN, NYSE: SNN). For more information about Smith & Nephew, please visit the corporate website, follow@SmithNephewplc on Twitter, or visit SmithNephewplc on


Dan Hamilton
Devin Rose