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5 Things Seniors Should Know About Wound Care

By Oleg Siniaguine Ph.D.

Seniors, and those who take care of them, are all too familiar with the frequency of wounds, especially chronic wounds. It’s common for seniors to get wounds, which arise from a wide variety of causes. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that chronic diseases that compromise skin integrity are becoming increasingly common among the country’s rapidly growing aging population. The more that seniors and their caretakers, know about wound care, the better they will be able to address the situation as it arises. The good news is that when you know about wounds, you will be better prepared to help people care for them and to be able to heal properly.”

Here are 5 things for seniors and their caretakers to know about wound care:

1)    Wounds are prolific.Seniors tend to get a lot of wounds. The NIH reports that certain diseases such as diabetes and peripheral vascular disease make it easier to end up with wounds. As little as a small scratch could lead to development of a chronic non-healing wound and often lead to amputations. Pressure ulcers, caused by unrelieved pressure, are common among bed bound or paraplegic seniors. Wounds are a life threatening condition for seniors.

2)    Healing takes stages.The healing process of the typical wound undergoes four main stages, which include coagulation, inflammation, proliferation and maturation. However in the presence of certain diseases or in advanced age, most wounds tend to stall when they reach the inflammation stage, making it difficult to continue on through the healing process.

3)    Infection must be prevented.One of the major problems that can arise when treating a wound is infection. There must be steps taken in order to prevent infection development and excessive bacteria growth for proper healing to take place

4)    Surgical debridement increases tissue loss. Wounds often need surgical debridement, a painful and invasive process in which dead or damaged tissue is removed surgically.  This process may also lead to an overall tissue loss. The less surgical debridement that is needed, the better off the person will be.

5)    Moisture balance is crucial.One of the most important requirements for having a successful healing process is creating an optimal moisture balance. A moist wound environment helps the healing process, according to the NIH, but it must be balanced, because excessive moisture can damage (macerate) surrounding skin and further deteriorate the wound.

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