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A wound can be defined as an injury to living tissue caused by a cut or blow, typically when the skin (epidermis) is cut or broken. Most wounds heal in specific stages and heal or show definite signs of healing by three weeks. If a wound does not show definite signs of healing by four weeks, it is classified as a chronic, non-healing wound. Wound care specialists have specialized training and certifications to handle these types of wounds.
What Are The Initial Steps To Take When Wounded?
When a person is initially injured, especially if it’s a minor wound, the wound can be treated by:
- Cleaning and disinfecting
- Direct pressure and elevation of the affected limb
- Applying a clean bandage or dressing
- A physician consult
Who Is At Risk For Developing A Chronic Wound?
Our bodies are designed to heal themselves, but there are some people who are naturally at risk of developing a chronic wound. High-risk candidates of developing chronic non-healing wounds are:
- People suffering from cardiac or vascular disease
- People on cancer treatment
- Overweight/obese people
- People living unhealthy lifestyles (ie: smokers, etc.)
Studies have shown that presently, 6.7 million people in the United States suffer from chronic, non-healing wounds. Diabetics, in particular, are very prone to:
- Diabetic foot ulcers
- Venous leg ulcers
- Surgical or trauma non-healing wounds
- Pressure ulcers and
- Arterial ulcers
What Is A Wound Care Specialist?
Wound care specialists are a team of health care professionals and technicians who have trained and specialized in wound care. They have written exams to prove specialist knowledge and competence and they maintain their wound care specialist status by:
- Continuing education credits
- Periodic recertification
The multidisciplinary wound care specialist team consists of:
- A variety of specialist physicians
- Physical therapists
- Medical technicians
In wound care, nurses are responsible for cleaning and dressing the wounds. They also provide health education to both the patient and their families. Nurses report on the healing progression of the wound and are the one to first spot any signs of infection.
Physicians from various disciplines like dermatology, vascular, podiatry, plastic, and general surgery are part of the team.
Their involvement would depend on the origin, extent, and location of the wound. The primary care physician is often the referring doctor. They remain on the team and coordinates communication and therapy.
They would be instrumental in providing specialist treatments including ultrasound, electrical stimulation, whirlpool, and compression therapy.
They have a vital role in preparing and analyzing blood and bodily fluids. They collect, test and record samples, verifying the cause of infection and providing treatment options.
Why Do Wounds Need Specialized Care?
Proper care of chronic non-healing wounds is vitally important, as a non-healing wound can have serious, long-term consequences. Statistically, 80,000 adult diabetics undergo amputation each year, directly as a result of chronic, non-healing wounds.
The longer a wound remains untreated, or treated incorrectly, the higher the risk of amputation. Apart from amputation, some other complications of non-healing wounds are:
- Infection (systemic)
- Necrotizing fasciitis
When a patient has a chronic, non-healing wound, the wound is not the only issue, there are many outside factors and conditions that contribute to a chronic wound. An entire team working together can treat the underlying conditions, resulting in a faster healing wound.
Whether you are in the planning phases of establishing a comprehensive wound center or perhaps re-evaluating your current wound management company or self-managed program, choosing the right partner is critical for success. Contact CūtisCare to improve your capacity to care and heal your patients with Chronic wounds. Call us today at 561-289-6827.