Chronic wounds affect around 6.5 million patients within the U.S alone. That is a really sizeable amount of patients affected with chronic wounds that require specific care and treatment.
Wounds can attribute to serious illnesses such as septicemia and bacterial infections. As soon as a wound appears, treatment needs to be quick to avoid any further complications. Any chronic wounds need addressing right away.
Skilled nursing facilities have procedures in situ to deal with wounds. Patients who are bedbound need specialist care. Bedsores and pressure wounds attribute to the toughest wounds to keep up.
How do you address chronic wounds, and what steps do you take? Below, you will find more information on wound care and what you need to tend to wounds.
Different Types of Wounds
As you can imagine, there are many types of wounds you need to look out for when you work in assisted living facilities. Some wounds you would never consider in your average day-to-day life.
Different wounds need different care. Be mindful of this as you read on further. You can not use a one option fixes all with this.
So, here are different types of wounds you need to consider.
Bedsores and Pressure Wounds
Also known as pressure ulcers, bedsores or pressure wounds happen due to prolonged pressure on the skin. Bedsores affect the skin and also the underlying tissue. They can be very painful and cause complications.
Those that are bedbound or in a wheelchair can succumb to bedsores. If they remain untreated, they can become very serious.
Surgery Specific Wounds
These are wounds from any form of surgery or procedure performed by a medical professional.
Anything from a mole removal of the skin to major abdominal surgery. Would care is needed to avoid infection of the site and also maintain a clean area and allow healing to begin.
A laceration is a deep cut or tears to the skin. These are dangerous at the onset as they can cause prolonged or severe bleeding. Management is needed right away to stop the bleeding and ensure there is nothing trapped inside.
An abrasion occurs when the skin catches or rubs against a rough or hard surface. This creates a skin-deep graze at varying depths and can be small or very large.
A puncture is when a sharp object punctures the skin and creates a hole in the skin, usually by a needle or a long pointy object that creates a small hole but can be very deep.
The Basic Items You Need For Wound Care
Read the list below of the items you should consider for wounds. Every assisted living facility will have these, and so should you.
- Alcohol pads/wound wash
- Medical gloves
- A range of gauzes
- Medical tape
- Dressings/Band aids
- Wound closures
- Cotton balls/cotton tips
- Ointment – Antiseptic and antibiotic
- Scissors and tweezers
Any skilled nursing team will already have a very intensive wound care package ready for use, especially when it comes to bedsores and pressure wounds. Hospice care treats wounds all the time, so they have everything in place to assess and address the wounds.
Having a box readily available will enable you to treat a full range of wounds.
How To Assess and Address Wounds
Taking a look at the wound will give you an idea of the type of wound you are dealing with. From a scrape to a puncture, you can get an idea of how deep it could be and the surface area of the wound.
Next, take a look inside the wound if you can; make sure nothing is sitting inside or on the surface. If your patient has taken a fall into gravel, you need to clean the wound and check there is no debris sitting inside the scrape.
Can you gauge how long ago the wound started? If it is a pressure sore when was the last time the patient was checked for bedsores?
If there is heavy bleeding present, consider packing the wound to stem the bleeding and apply pressure. It is vital that the bleeding is stopped as this can be critical for the patient.
Small surface wounds can be treated with a cleaning, antiseptic, and cover with a band-aid or gauze. Larger and more open wounds will need a skilled professional to clean and close the wound.
Some wounds will need constant care, round-the-clock cleaning, and dressing. Whilst others can be left alone with antiseptic on to make sure they do not become inflamed and infected.
Inflammation and infections need treating urgently to avoid spreading. Septicemia is one of the biggest concerns with wound infections. Along with other concerns such as MRSA and serious bacterial infections.
Watch out for the signs and symptoms listed below:
- Swelling, redness, heat, pain at the site
- Spreading of redness or red streaks
- A high temperature of 100.4°F
- Swollen lymph nodes in neck, groin, armpits
- Yellow/green discharge from the wound
- Unpleasant odor
- Chills and/or sweating
- Aches and pains
If you notice the above, contact a medical professional as they will need the wound checking over. Tests performed on the infection and antibiotics and treatment as required.
Skilled Nursing Facilities Are Already Prepared For Wounds
If you are looking for skilled nursing for a loved one or looking to work in this profession, wound care should be at the top of your list. But know they will be prepared for these events and many more!
You can contact us for more information if you are concerned about wounds or any aspect of hospice care. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns you have.
Skilled nursing benefits are enormous. Knowing any wounds are tended to very quickly by professionals will be a weight off your mind. You know the wounds are in safe hands and will be tended to quickly with ongoing care.
Have you considered the importance of wound care? Do you treat wounds as a priority?