Seniors are at a higher risk for health complications due to their depleted immune system and diseases related to improper wound care are no exception. That is why it is critically important to know the various aspects of proper wound care, especially those prevalent in senior living or post-acute care communities. Complications that can arise from improper wound care vary from as minor to mild infections to as serious as Septicemia. Here are some critical things to remember when it comes to wound care for older adults.
Proper Wound Care is Vital
A holistic approach to wound care is paramount. The skin is the body’s largest layer of protection against infection from outside pathogens. This only becomes more important when dealing with the care of older adults in places such as assisted living and memory care facilities. According to NCBI, “The aging population presents many challenges to the medical community in the provision of care; among them is wounds care. Although it is a complex subject, basic understanding of the healing process, the most common types of ulcers and some of the dressing options available is necessary in caring for these patients.”
Not All Wounds are the Same
Just like any other age group, seniors are susceptible to varying levels of wounds to their skin. There are two main types of wounds: acute and chronic. Advanced Tissue notes that, “There is a difference between a minor scrape from the pavement and an open gash from an infection. The wide variety of wounds that can arise also means there are many different forms of treatment that will properly heal them.” Knowing the different types of wounds that older adults can have and the different treatment options for each can dramatically improve the ability to ward off infection from an open wound.
Know the Progression of Wounds
Wound care tends to be more effective the earlier you take action on treating a wound. The proper steps you should take to prevent infection of a wound for an older adult are all dependent on how long the wound has been on their body. SeniorsBlueBook found that, “When a wound progresses to a chronic phase, at-home healing becomes out of the question. Professional medical attention is now the only option to properly treat the wound and prevent complications and potential amputations. Addressing a wound’s underlying causes, such as diabetes, tissue ischemia, and/or venous insufficiency, is an essential treatment component.” Be sure your senior living community is monitoring the skin of a senior loved one to ensure that all wounds are properly monitored and appropriately cared for.
At Poet’s Walk, a Spring Hills Memory Care Community, we have a full staff of registered nurses, as well as attentive caregivers, to ensure that wounds are spotted quickly and handled properly. Our Vice President of Resident Services & Program Development, Lesa Scott, discussed that, “Our nurses are highly trained to manage many conditions our residents may face. With wound care especially, we realize the risks associated with an untreated wound and take all necessary safety precautions and practices to ensure the health and well-being of our residents. Our holistic approach to senior care allows us to be proactive and prepared for issues that may arise.” To learn more, click here to find a community near you.