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June 29, 2022

How Can I Manage Wound Care at Home?

Wound care can be complex and time consuming, depending on the severity of the wound. It can be as simple as cleaning and bandaging a paper cut or as advanced as caring for skin necrosis caused by radiation therapy. Certain factors such as nutrition or medical conditions like diabetes can affect wound healing, making the process slower and putting patients at a higher risk of complications. Healing from any kind of injury or surgery at home is more cost-efficient and comfortable, but that doesn’t mean the level of care and knowledge of medical professionals is out of reach. In-home nurses and care providers are available for short- and long-term wound care to help patients optimize their healing time and reduce the risk of any potential complications. 

Some common injuries/wounds that often require wound care assistance include:

  • Pressure sores
  • Diabetic ulcers
  • Surgical incisions
  • Skin tears
  • Trauma from lacerations, burns, bites, etc.

Factors that Affect Wound Healing

Regardless of the severity of the injury and whether professional assistance is needed, there are certain factors that can affect the rate of wound healing. Education about these factors is key to ensure a patient is doing everything they can to support the body’s natural wound healing process.

Factors that can slow down wound healing include:

  1. Poor nutrition: the body requires nutrients from all five of the major food groups to fuel normal body processes, including wound healing. A deficiency in any essential vitamins and nutrients can negatively impact the body’s healing efficiency.
  2. Certain medical conditions: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other diseases that affect blood circulation and nutrient delivery throughout the body can impact wound healing and slow down the rate of tissue repair.
  3. Smoking: smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing nutrient-rich blood flow to a wound and also weakens the body’s immune system, resulting in increased risk of infections.
  4. Certain medical treatments: treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy attack the body’s ability to perform normal processes, slowing down cellular replication and tissue repair, as well as negatively impacting inflammatory reactions designed to combat infection.
  5. Soiled/Contaminated dressings or bandages: dressings or bandages are designed to protect an open wound and facilitate tissue repair, but if they become contaminated with bacteria or soaked with non-sterile fluids, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cause an infection.

Ways to promote wound healing:

  1. Supply the body with essential vitamins and minerals by eating a wide variety of foods from all five of the major food groups:
    • Whole grains
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Dairy
    • Lean Proteins
  2. Drink at least 1.5L of water every day - hydration is imperative for the transportation of nutrients throughout the body and optimizing cell health so they can perform their intended functions. It is also crucial for skin health and elasticity, which improves wound healing. 
  3. Avoid alcohol and caffeine consumption during the healing process - both interfere with the immune system’s inflammatory response to combat infection and disrupts cell signaling during tissue repair.
  4. Keep a clean dressing/bandage on the wound to protect it from environmental contaminants and to absorb draining fluids from the wound. Be sure to keep the dressing dry by applying a waterproof covering when showering and avoid submerging it (i.e. baths, swimming pools, etc.) since the water may contain contaminants that can infect the wound and bacteria spreads faster in moist environments.

When Would I Need Professional In-Home Wound Care Assistance?

There are many reasons why someone would need the support of an in-home wound care nurse. Wound care can be complex and overwhelming, having the experience and knowledge of a skilled nurse provides many advantages to patients and their families. They are there to monitor and document progress, provide education and guidance on wound care and pain management, safely change wound dressings, and address any complications or concerns that may arise during the healing process.

In-home wound care nurses offer benefits to patients and their families during the healing process by:

  • Reducing patient discomfort using clinical pain management techniques
  • Providing a specialized wound treatment plan for patients and their care providers
  • Optimizing healing time and reducing the risk of complications by providing expert wound care
  • Listening to and answering any questions or concerns that a patient or their family members may have
  • Providing guidance and instruction on wound care to boost a patient’s confidence in their healing process

In-home wound care assistance is often recommended by a patient’s doctor if they feel it may be necessary. Patients can also simply call their physician for a referral if they feel they may be unable to care for themselves. Your doctor can send an order directly to Home Care, Recharged for skilled wound care nursing.

You may benefit from in-home wound care assistance if you have:

  • Major injuries or surgical wounds
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Wounds that show no improvement after 2 weeks
  • Wounds that have worsened
  • Complex wound care needs
  • Special catheters
  • Require special cleaning and care of an Ostomy/Stoma, feeding tube sites, etc.
  • Complicated/advanced treatment orders or healing instructions
  • Stage III and IV pressure ulcers
  • Needs for preventative skin measures (e.x. Appropriate support surface, moisture management, etc.)
  • Medical conditions that can inhibit wound healing

Created by: Bailey

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