The Bridge Care Suites employs a team of skilled nurses and other medical professionals with unrivaled knowledge of how to safely aid in our patients’ recovery. We know the ins and outs of rehab, from broader treatment plans to issues that seem simple – like proper wound care – but are vital to the recovery process.
On the above note, proper wound care should be a top priority at nursing homes–as it is at our rehab facility. The correct steps must be followed because elderly patients face heightened risks during the wound-healing process. This blog will examine why dealing with wounds in a nursing home is so crucial while offering helpful advice on how these injuries should be treated:
Why is Wound Treatment Challenging at Nursing Homes?
Slowed Skin Regeneration: As someone ages, their skin becomes more fragile and sensitive, extending the wound-healing process. It’s not entirely uncommon for a cut, abrasion, lesion, gash, or bruise to become chronic because of the reduced regenerative abilities in the skin due to age.
Pre-existing Conditions: Typically, seniors face other health conditions (e.g., diabetes) that cause wounds to linger, lengthening the healing time.
Lack of Mobility: Mobility also becomes an issue for elderly patients or residents who can’t move the way they once did. In this scenario, wounds become more severe because of the lack of blood circulation, slowing the oxygen and nutrient supply as they reach the tissue.
Infections: Surgical wounds often lead to infection, making the healing process even more difficult.
These are all issues we fully grasp at The Bridge Care Suites. Wound care is something our highly trained team takes pride in. Each member applies their expertise to this process, contributing to a successful and speedy recovery from these types of scenarios.
What Are the Toughest Wounds to Treat?
Wounds in Diabetic Residents/Patients
The topic of diabetes has already been briefly discussed, but it’s worth a bit more of a deep dive.Vision problems can afflict diabetic patients/residents. The same can be said for pain and numbness in the lower legs and feet. These symptoms combine and make it tough to detect wounds since patients/residents struggle to feel or see nicks or cuts.
Moreover, diabetes reduces blood flow to the lower legs and feet. And the condition hinders the cells that cause inflammation, stopping them from helping with the healing process. These factors can all turn a small scratch or graze into a much more problematic wound that’s far more vulnerable to infection.
When Patients Suffer Pressure Wounds/Bed Sores
Bedsores occur from pressure (due to lying down/sitting) on areas with prominent bones (e.g., heels, buttocks, hips, head, and lower back). Blood flow to the soft tissues on top of the bones is cut off by the pressure. If this goes on for over 4 hours, the damage is irreversible, and the tissue dies. And as the wounds get deeper, they worsen. Then, when the wound reaches the bone, there’s a strong chance that the only solution is surgery.
Patients/residents at nursing homes commonly struggle with veins that inefficiently transport blood back to the heart. Frequently, this problem causes swelling in the legs and ulcers in the skin. There’s high pressure in the leg veins when someone stands up. That pressure multiplies when the valves don’t work, pouring from the tissues into the skin. This reaction causes skin breakage that can form a larger wound.
The Wound Treatment Process
Wounds aren’t always the same, but there’s a general blueprint to follow to help lessen their damage. Here are some of the stages involved in treating any wound for a nursing home resident/patient:
Stop the bleeding:
- Have the patient lie down and elevate the bleeding area
- Any visible objects in the wound should be removed (as long as it’s easy)
- Cut off/remove any clothing surrounding the wound
- Apply direct pressure to the injured area for 15 minutes
After stopping the bleeding, the nursing team can clean the wound and change the dressings as per the doctor’s instructions. After cleaning the wound, it’s time for the tissue to heal.
Other Ways to Help with Healing
There’s a need to offload wound pressure to increase blood flow to the injured area. This process all depends on where the wound is. For instance, a lower back wound requires standing or walking. Lying down on one’s side/stomach might also help. But the patient/resident would need to turn every couple of hours to prevent another wound.
Another example is a foot wound. In this instance, a special boot will help redistribute the injured patient’s weight. Supplements such as vitamin C and zinc help cells multiply–which can be provided through a multivitamin. If a patient isn’t healing ideally, it might be worth it to look into different supplements. A nutrient-rich diet is another way to aid in a patient/resident’s healing process, starting first with protein from meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in amino acids that aid in skin regeneration.
What Happens When Wounds Aren’t Properly Cared For?
Failing to treat a wound properly can lead to a slippery slope of adverse outcomes for patients/residents in a nursing facility. An example is how foot ulcers can develop in seniors with diabetes, potentially leading to an amputated toe, foot, or portion of the leg.
For the above reasons, The Bridge Care Suites is dedicated to a fine-tuned wound care plan revolving around empathy, attention to detail, and patient awareness. It’s one of the many reasons our rehab services are the best of their kind throughout Springfield, Illinois, and it’s surrounding communities.
Our passionate team of healthcare experts is committed to our patient’s successful recovery, focusing on a safe return home and previous quality of life. Find out more about our services and contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions about wound care or anything else you might have in mind.