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Elderly Wound Care

Elderly individuals have very fragile skin which can cause scar tissue, slow healing, infections and even wounds that will not heal. Whether an individual is living in a nursing home or they are living on their own, wound care is an absolute must. Any wounds incurred must be handled properly to avoid further and more serious problems.

In a nursing home, staff members are required to handle wound care properly. This is a part of the basic rights of the patients as required by law. In addition to an older individual dealing with lack of regenerative skin cells, they could also have medical conditions, like diabetes that can cause further skin conditions. Older individuals are simply at a higher risk of obtaining wounds that do not heal properly or do not heal at all. A health professional will need to know how to determine whether it is possible to completely eradicate a wound or manage it to ensure damage is minimized as much as possible.

Dealing with Chronic Wounds

Chronic wounds are those that either heal very slowly, do not heal at all, or continue to recur. These wounds are not the same, and they most often occur in elderly individuals who have health problems as well as aging skin. In nursing homes, wound care will need to be approached in the right manner based on the person themselves, the type of wound, and various other factors including illness. Some things can actually complicate the healing of the wound, so trained staff will need to know how to avoid this.

There are a number of different causes that are associated with chronic wounds developing on elderly individuals. These causes include:

  • Infection – if an open wound becomes infected, it can be very hard for the body to both fight the infection and heal the wound, so it could become chronic.
  • Dead Skin – When skin dies around the wound, it will not close; this is more common in elderly patients.
  • Diet – If the patient isn’t eating a proper diet, then they will not have the vitamins needed in their body to properly heal the wound. In some cases, the wounds could even worsen.
  • Inability to Move – If the patient cannot get up or even sit up, this can result in bedsores and a part of nursing home requirements is to do everything possible to avoid bedsores forming.
  • Poor Skin Care – If the skin remains excessively dry or wet and it stays that way for a long amount of time, then wounds will not be able to heal. The proper use of bandaging should be used to ensure the wound remains properly moist.
  • Bleeding – When the patient’s wound continues to bleed, this will keep it from closing properly.

Any nursing home must have a plan for chronic wound care in place. Otherwise, the patient may not be cared for properly. In fact, if wounds that are not cared for properly, then further complications could develop and could even lead to death. This type of improper care could mean following through with a negligence or abuse lawsuit.

Wounds will occur and they happen very often in elderly individuals who aren’t healthy enough for their skin to repair itself quickly. Chronic wounds pose a variety of different threats, so it is important for nursing facilities or those who are caring for elderly individuals need to fully understand how to properly care for these wounds, whether it means maintaining a wound to keep it from getting worse or eradicating the wound as quickly as possible through proper care and treatment measures.

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