Dr. Kevin Woo is an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing at Queen's University. He teaches in both the undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of gerontology, biostatistics, and patient safety. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Western University for their Master's of Clinical Science, Wound Healing program at the School of Physical Therapy. Kevin maintains his clinical expertise and functions as an Advanced Wound Consultant at the West Park Healthcare Center, a specialized chronic care and rehabilitation hospital in Toronto. His research interests focus on enhancing chronic disease self-management, developing quality benchmarks for wound management, and implementing best practices for difficult to heal wounds. Dr. Woo is the Early Researcher Award recipient 2014-2019 from the Ministry of Research and Innovation. He is leading the development of an online community to promote self-management of diabetes and related foot complications. He was awarded for an Early Career Research Award, International Association for the Study of Pain (2012-2013) for his research project that evaluated the impact of pain and psychological stress on inflammatory responses. He is the co-editor of Chronic Wound Care 5, a clinical source book for healthcare professionals. He had served on expert panels to develop Best Practice Guidelines (BPG) in collaboration with the Registered Nurses Association in Ontario for the Assessment and Management of Stage 1 to 4 Pressure Ulcers. Additionally, he is the web editor for the Advances in Skin and Wound Care journal website and he is a member of several editorial boards.
Why Wound Care?
I started my nursing career working in internal medicine and gerontology. During the first week of being a nurse, I attended an orientation session on wound care. I remember being extremely impressed with the science and complex physiology in wound healing and I said to myself, "this is how I can make a difference for patient care!" Since then, I have sought out different opportunities to increase my knowledge and further develop an expertise in wound care. Over the years, I have assumed a number of advanced clinical roles with a focus on gerontology, dermatology, and wound care in a variety of clinical settings. I love wound care and gerontology because the care embraces a holistic perspective and incorporates an extensive body of knowledge from various professions. By establishing an interprofessional approach to wound care, we reduced the amputation rate in relation to diabetic foot ulcers in Guyana. I was the co-lead of a research project that explored the impact of an interdisciplinary team’s initial assessment for a person with a lower extremity wound on the outcomes in those clients. With the funding provided by the Ministry of Health, we followed 111 clients over the course of four weeks while they were being cared for in accordance with best practice guidelines for the treatment of venous leg and diabetic foot ulcers by an interprofessional team. We documented that many clients receiving home care services for wound care had not, prior to the study, obtained the optimal assessment and treatment under the existing system. This in turn negatively impacted the clients’ healing times and resulted in spending in excess of what would be sufficient under a comprehensive assessment model. Results of the study validated the importance of well-coordinated care delivered in a timely fashion with an interprofessional approach to improve clinical and health outcomes. My doctoral work was focused on the relationship between pain and psychological determinants in older people with chronic wounds. Building on existing knowledge about chronic disease self management and my previous research that examines the mediating effect of attachment in the relationship between anxiety and pain, my research centers on pain and quality of life issues, stress and mental health concerns, stress and physiological responses that can influence wound healing, aging population and risk for chronic wound development, as well as strategies to promote adherence. I truly enjoy my wound care journey and I have learned to the importance of resilience, humility, and authenticity from my wound care patients.