Wound care is essential to prevent infections that can impair the healing process, in addition to preventing discomfort and pain. Treating wounds at home, as well as in the hospital environment, requires measures to ensure patient safety. One has to do with the types of wound dressings. In addition to hand hygiene, using disposable and sterile materials, care must be taken to ensure that the dressing helps to protect and heal wounds. Due to the greater fragility of the skin of the elderly, the injuries in these patients deserve special care so that the injuries do not increase.
How to ensure the safety of dressings and wounds in the home environment
There is a high probability that you, as a patient or non-professional caregiver, may be making mistakes in wound care and prevention for yourself or your loved one. Thus, it is important that you pay attention and seek professional medical guidance to best achieve proper wound care results.
It is common that at this stage of life, due to mobility difficulties, low muscle resistance and other factors that affect the elderly, result in injuries caused by falls. Both light scratches (abrasions) and deep cuts (debridement), must be immediately cleaned. When the wound is mild, washing with water and mild soap is the first step to sanitize the area. However, wounds, especially chronic ones, should not be washed during the bath because the water is contaminated with dirt from our body, which can end up causing infection.
Keeping the wound open is important to not cause discomfort and help with the healing process. In certain cases where there is leakage from the wound, the wound must require washing with water and usage of a compression dressing with gauze, but without using cotton so as not to stick to the wound site. Depending on the severity of the injury, suturing may be required.
Wounds can be covered with a biotechnological dressing like Biontex’s that was developed to act as a temporary skin substitute. The basic function of the dressing is to prevent contamination of the wound and absorb excess secretions.
Why should I use a dressing?
The dressing, as a basic function, prevents contamination of the wound and absorbs the secretion. More technological dressings may have other functions such as the possibility of gas exchange and drainage of secretions, promote rapid skin regeneration and keep the lesion area moist to protect nerve endings and provide immediate pain relief.
Wounds caused by clothing and accessories
Geriatric diapers, clothes that are very tight to the body and other types of tissue that hinder skin perspiration, can cause friction and injuries in the elderly. In this case, in addition observational findings of such wounds, when detected, they should be cleaned with water and mild soap.
It is important to leave the affected area free for healing to occur normally. For this, it is not recommended to use occlusive dressings that isolate the area. If the wound shows any change in color or discharge, it is necessary to seek medical attention.
How do you know if the wound is healing?
When wound starts to heal, the pain decreases, the size of the lesion decreases and you begin to notice healing by the appearance of granulation tissue, which is hard, reddish skin that forms in the area. To “heal”, the wound goes through three processes:
The inflammatory phase, which is when you have the sensation of pain, heat and redness; then there is the granulation phase, in which the formation of the base tissue for healing takes place and, lastly is the maturation process, which will reconstitute the skin.
Depending on the type and cause of the wound, the healing process may require differing care. It is important to be vigilant and ensure that the care provision is addressing the wound properly. Medical attention should generally be sought when addressing wound care, especially in vulnerable populations such as the elderly. In the elderly, it should be noted that other diseases can pose risks for the appearance of pressure ulcer wounds, such as diabetes and urinary incontinence. Herein, professional medical diagnostics and treatment often becomes an essential component for proper wound care.
Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/relieving-wound-pain
Retreived from: https://journals.lww.com/prsgo/fulltext/2019/10000/simple_effective_ways_to_care_for_skin_wounds_and.24.aspx