Basic wound care management is an area that makes use of a great deal of resources at any health care facility. For every surgery and for every injury treated, as well as any lesion-causing conditions, there will be a dependence on the ability to provide effective wound care. There are many ways to manage basic wound care that reduce follow up visits and lengthy stays due to infections, both of which draw on resources in a healthcare facility. By furthering our understanding of basic wound care management, we could have a domino effect on the efficiency in other areas of any facility. There are several aims of basic wound care management, achieved through various means.
Aims of Wound Care
Where wounds do require specialized treatment based on cause and condition, there are some basic steps that can be followed in all wound care.
- Get rid of tissue damaged beyond repair.
- Clean and disinfect the area.
- Measures to prevent further damage.
- Find the source of the wound to establish the extent of care needed (acute or chronic).
- Create conditions that allow for healing without complication.
- Wound dressing to ensure ideal conditions for healing.
Having staff trained in the most up to date ways of treating and dressing wounds can save a patient healing time and prevent any unwanted negative repercussions in the patients’ lives that may come from a slow healing wound. When it comes to chronic wound care management, hyperbaric oxygen therapy should become a consideration if the type of wound is known to respond to such treatment.
Basic Wound Care Management Overview
Because basic wound care management is such a critical aspect of follow up care, there is lots of research on how to improve the rate of healing, prevent anything from slowing it down further, or cause complications. It therefore becomes critical that all staff involved are kept up to date with any and all new information. This is made easier by forging relationships and co-operations with facilities that specialize in wound care.
There is a degree of assumption about wound care management and risks involved with generalized treatment or use of additional methods. Therefore, new information and methods should be implemented with oversight and care.
Assessing Cause of Wound and Damage Control
This step is crucial to long term effects of wounds. The less attention given here, the more tedious or precarious the healing process. Only under emergencies would you bypass the care and attention of cutting away any damaged tissue while minding nerves and seeing how extensive the injury is. In some cases, the cause is not immediately obvious and so time will be spent on establishing information through diagnosis and assessment.
A strong factor in slow wound healing is the film that forms at the surface of a wound that allows for microbial growth, and this makes debridement of any wound important. This step is sometimes not included as damaged tissue is not always apparent.
It is also necessary to check the cause of any swelling. Edema can be indicative of an underlying issue that needs attention urgently. There is normal swelling that occurs with wounds that might need to be treated before wound closure and further treatment can take place, but the cause of swelling should be confirmed.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Materials used to clean wounds and get the area around the wound into a state where it can be treated properly can have an impact on healing rates. Depending on the cause of the wound, materials could soothe or cause flare up. Being up to date on all wound care information might mean that for certain wounds, there is some development where this step could help jump start the healing process. An example is topical foams for certain ulcers. At the very least, knowing the cause and your patient information will prevent flare ups that are difficult to work around.
This step gets repeated each time the dressing needs to be changed, and it is the way in which the state of the wound is monitored. Ongoing treatment with the right materials will boost healing time – while the patient is in your care, all effort should be taken to ensure that the patient or the patient’s care giver is fully equipped and trained to perform this step.
Outpatient Treatment of Wounds
There will usually be a need to anaesthetize the area at least initially – the doctor may prescribe pain killers or local anesthetic for this step. If any signs of infection are present, or as a preventative measure when certain conditions avail, antibiotics may also be prescribed by the doctor. Oxygen treatment and hyperbaric therapy has been shown to have an effective effect on wound healing. Increasing oxygen in the blood helps healing to take place from an internal gateway rather than only through topical applications.
There are several ways to close the skin around a wound. The method will be determined on the basis of the wound and sometimes by what is available. For example, if there is no access to suitable materials for sutures, then adhesives will suffice as a temporary method. Patients may want to know what methods will lead to the least amount of scarring in wound healing, and new methods should be researched for this purpose. There are some exciting discoveries being made in this field.
The options for wound closure in basic wound care are:
- Tissue Glue
Wound dressing on its own is a vast topic with many ways of improving on basics. It has such an impact on wound care. Almost all healing can be delayed or disrupted by improper dressing.
Advancements to Aid in Healing
So many exciting advancements have been made when it comes to dressing wounds to improve healing, from ointments that assist in tissue regrowth, to dressing that assists in keeping wounds at optimal temperatures and conditions. Aside from needing to ensure that patients and care givers know the correct technique to use, these materials should be made available as options. Having staff well trained and up to date and partnering with wound management specialists, CutisCare, to work alongside your facility to address outpatient wound care needs can help with this.
Applying Dressing Correctly
Every little detail matter when it comes to dressing wounds, from tightness (which affects blood flow to the wound) and dryness (at each stage of healing, the conditions surrounding the wound need to change) are details that patients and care givers will benefit from. Having staff on site whose priority it is to take the time to “up-skill” patients and their care givers with all the right methods and information is the kind of care that patients will be appreciative of from a healthcare service provider.
There is a way to layer the wound dressing with different materials depending on the nature of the wound and how moist or dry it should be kept, as well what topical treatments are being applied.
- Usually, you want a first layer that will not stick to the wound or absorb any topical ointments.
- Securing the dressing needs special attention when the wound is around joints and skin that will experience movement during the day.
- Patients need to be informed of signs of infection, especially if the wound needs to remain dressed.
- New dressing with microchips to monitor and create ideal conditions now exists.
Partnering with a specialist in wound care can go a long way in increasing the degree of satisfaction that any patient experiences at their chosen healthcare facility. If you are interested in establishing a wound care center at your hospital then CutisCare can help – we have flexible and innovative healthcare business models and are poised to provide our hospital partners with the expertise to solve their patients’ chronic wound problems.