Chronic wounds and how to manage them
Cuts, scratches, and nicks are the stuff of everyday life. These wounds — whether large or small — can be little more than simple nuisances for most people. But if you’ve noticed that some wounds just don’t heal as expected, particularly if you have an underlying condition, those wounds may turn into something far more serious.
Wounds are considered “chronic” when they take longer than four weeks to heal, but one that hasn’t shown significant improvement within two weeks may be a serious chronic wound that needs additional care to avoid complications.
What causes a chronic wound?
Most chronic wounds occur due to increased bacterial load, a lack of blood supply, an infection, or the wrong type of treatment. Here are just a few examples of injuries that might result in chronic wounds:
- Surgical wounds that reopen or stitches that rip
- Pressure ulcers from the skin that breaks down due to an overload of pressure
- Poor circulation in the feet or legs from an injury such as arterial or venous ulcers
- Diabetic ulcers caused by unknown wounds or lack of wound care
- Bacterial infections
- Poor nutrition
- Chronic diseases
- Chemotherapy or radiation
How you can help heal a chronic wound
To make sure that your wound is healing as well as possible, it’s important to take these relatively simple preliminary steps:
- Wash your hands
- Keep your dressing clean
- Focus on nutrition
- Keep your wound dry
While treating your chronic wound, keep an eye on its physical appearance to track the healing progress. If you notice anything getting worse, changing color, emitting a foul odor, or discharging, call your doctor immediately.
When to rely on a Nursing Center for wound care
Skilled nursing facilities works in tandem to enhance your doctor’s care, with around-the-clock nurses and therapists coordinating with and under the guidance of your doctor. In a nursing center, your healthcare team can assess beds, linens, pressure-relieving devices, medication management, and more. They can also provide useful training at discharge for family caregivers and follow-up to make sure everything is going according to plan.
Nursing Centers can be especially helpful in key circumstances, including;
- When patients are older, or when it’s difficult for a patient get the comprehensive wound care they need at home.
- When wounds take longer than six weeks to heal.
- If wounds become infected.
- When the doctor anticipates complications that merit nursing supervision, such as diabetes, vascular insufficiency, neurologic deficits, advanced age, edema, limited mobility, incontinence, or cognitive impairments
Helping an elderly family member or loved one mitigate the potential risk of chronic wound care can be challenging, especially if the patient is managing more than one condition. If you think your parent or loved one may benefit from wound care in a skilled nursing setting, it’s time to see if American Health Corporation can help. Their team is well prepared to help manage the potential issues surrounding chronic wound care, and they offer the highest quality nursing healthcare and programs to help patients maintain skills and abilities to live as independently as possible.
For more information or to schedule a facility tour, contact one of our three locations in Alabama nearest you:
Oak Trace (Bessemer, AL) 205-428-9383
Colonial Haven (Greensboro, AL) 334-624-3054
Perry County Nursing Home (Marion, AL) 334-683-9696