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Newly Developed Skin and Wound Action Team (SWAT) at Fox Chase Cancer Center Tackles Patient Care with Expert Knowledge

Orlando, Fla. (April 29, 2005) -- Pressure ulcers - a wound or break in the skin common in patients confined to their bed or otherwise immobilized, can develop in both the hospital and the home. According to Pamela Jakubek, MSN, RN, OCN, CWOCN, clinical nurse specialist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa., proper assessment and an expert team approach can lead to greater prevention and care for the patient.

There is no actual national database for pressure ulcer development in cancer patients. Fox Chase, with other Magnet facilities and comprehensive cancer centers, has begun planning for a database with which they can compare national statistics.

As Jakubek presented today at the 30th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress, nurses already know how to prevent or minimize ulcers by properly cleaning the skin and turning the patient. "At Fox Chase, we take pressure ulcer care a step further by re-evaluating the risk assessment process, educating our nurses on new products and procedures, and implementing a skin and wound action team - or S.W.A.T."

SWAT is a self-selected group of 30 staff nurses who participated in a two-day seminar, with hands on demonstrations and presentations on the latest in skin and wound care issues. Subjects highlighted in the course include, nutrition in wound healing and oncology specific wound care.

Since the inception of SWAT in October 2003, Jakubek has noted an increase in the staff's comfort for initiating treatments for pressure ulcers according to standards and offering information to physicians on more cost effective and less time-consuming wound care treatments, particularly for discharge planning.

Jakubek also calculated a reduction in pressure ulcers in Fox Chase patients by 75 percent since the skin and wound action team was implemented. "A better understanding of pressure ulcer prevention techniques and skin protectants translates into less time spent caring for ulcers that could have been prevented or treated in a more appropriate fashion," Jakubek continued. Jakubek highlighted that pressure ulcers can require care everyday, but can be reduced to two or three times a week with proper wound care treatment planning.

"A program like SWAT is beneficial to other institutions in that this it cost-effective to the hospital as well as the patient," said Jakubek. "If we can get wound care to a point where we also assist the home care agencies, the whole process becomes cost-effective for all parties involved and improved comfort for the patient."

"Bottom line is as nurses our goal is to help our patients avoid any complications from their illness, including development from pressure ulcers. If we can do so in a timely, cost-effective way, the patient benefits and we have done our job well," concluded Jakubek.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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