Pressure ulcers and other open wounds are costly medical conditions, in terms of both healthcare expenses and patient wellbeing. According to the National Institutes of Health, Medicare cost estimates for acute and chronic wound treatments ranged from $28.1 billion to $96.8 billion. From an economic point of view, the annual wound care products market is expected to reach $15–22 billion by 2024. Annually, roughly 60,000 patients die as a direct result of a pressure ulcer. Even though open wounds are a common occurrence in clinical settings, there are limited training opportunities for healthcare learners to master the appropriate wound care skills.
According to a study by Joan Kavanagh and Patricia Sharpnack, the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, has further reduced training opportunities for newer healthcare professionals. Many programs were forced to limit in-person education while losing access to clinical sites at the same time. The resulting graduating classes have little to no hands-on experience in assessing and caring for pressure ulcers. Seeking to provide a solution to these unprecedented challenges, healthcare simulation company Avkin has developed the Avwound, a realistic wound care simulator designed to be worn by a standardized patient. The device, combined with a trained SP, will create a realistic but safe environment for learners to practice both the practical wound care skills, along with the soft communication and empathy skills vital to a patient’s recovery.
“Open wounds are a longstanding problem in hospitals, home health, and other clinical settings. They are quick to set in and require detailed, attentive care to treat,” said Avkin CEO and Founder Amy Cowperthwait. “With the Avwound, we are able to create a clinical experience for learners, easily replicated for all learners to have the same detailed experience. Wound care experts have helped designed the Avwound to ensure critical learning objectives can be met.”
The Avwound boasts high-grade silicone, to accurately replicate skin blanching for wound assessment. Different casings allow educators to mimic wounds with both healthy blood flow and tunneling. Different inserts replicate all four wound stages to ensure learners experience the many different wounds they will encounter in their career. It can be moved to multiple positions over the standardized patient’s body, including the sacrum, thigh, hip, and shoulder. The strap system allows the wearer to place the wound in many different positions. Three different skin tone options can help ensure the fidelity of the simulation.
The Avwound does not just look like a wound, though. Infused within the product, an advanced fluidics system, powered by the Avkin App, gives learners the ability to unpack, drain, and repack wounds. Antimicrobial fluids are included with the product, including blood, serous, serosanguineous, purulent, seropurulent exudates. Haptic feedback cues the wearer to react appropriately, whether it is pain from unpacking dried gauze or cold from washing out the wound with saline.
“The Avwound continues our drive to create realistic but safe learning environments for up-and-coming healthcare professionals to master critical skills before ever seeing their first patient,” said Cowperthwait. “If we as educators fail to prepare the next-gen workforce, the healthcare system could crumble from burnout and disillusionment.”
To learn more about the Avwound and to see a short video demonstration, visit https://avkin.com/avwound-wound-simulator/.