Wound and Skin Care for Elderly Patients
Wound care easy reference for senior medical treatment. How to prevent and treat chronic wounds in the elderly. First aid for senior citizens.
As our bodies age, the healing process slows down, making proper skin care and the prompt treatment of wounds a vital part of day-to-day care. Proper treatment may be self-administered or may require the help of others. Senior citizens and the caretakers of aged individuals may examine the following information in order to treat wounds more effectively.
When a wound appears, it is vital to take action immediately so that it heals properly without complications. Wounds are not limited to cuts and scrapes. Small puncture wounds must also be taken seriously as infection is common. Untreated wounds may become chronic, meaning they either reoccur, heal slowly, or cease the healing process. Take the following steps when a wound first appears.
1. If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure until the bleeding stops. If the bleeding does not stop on its own, call 911.
2. Remove any dirt, glass, or debris if possible.
3. Use soap or a saline solution to clean the wound.
4. Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.
5. Have the wound examined as soon as possible at the hospital or a clinic. Consider courtesy transportation to and from Senior Medical Associates.
6. Follow the instructions of the physician. Take the medicine as prescribed even if the wound and symptoms disappear.
Risk Factors of Chronic Wounds
A wound becomes chronic when the body’s ability to heal becomes hindered. When not properly maintained, chronic wounds may lead to diabetic ulcers, infection, and inflammation, and may require surgery or an extended hospital stay. The following factors make a wound more likely to become chronic.
· Infection forces the immune system’s efforts away from healing the wound as it attempts to eradicate the disease.
· Necrosis creates a buffer of dead skin that the blood stream has trouble accessing to provide oxygen and nutrients.
· Bleeding opens wounds and undoes much of the healing process, requiring the body to try again.
· Vitamin C and zinc deficiency slows and limits the body’s healing process.
· Immobility causes constant friction or pressure to specific areas, irritating the wound.
· Moisture exposes the wound to bacteria while dryness makes bleeding and necrosis more likely.
Senior Skin Care
In old age, not all wounds are caused by injury. Certain factors such as diabetes and immobility make wounds more likely to occur, as does the limited regenerative ability of people in their later years. The following routines will help to minimize the chances of bed sores and other skin conditions.
· Repositioning yourself throughout the day in the bed or wheelchair will help to minimize the impact of pressure on your skin. Changing angles every fifteen minutes is ideal but not always possible.
· Cushioning and propping yourself up with appropriate materials helps with positioning as well. Cushions filled with air, water, gel, or foam provide more support than stuffed pillows.
· Elevating your head above the rest of your body helps to prevent shearing.
· Cleaning skin with mild soap and water, or a no-rinse cleanser, helps to prevent rashes.
· Talcum powder creates a layer of insulation on the skin to keep it moist but not wet.
· Incontinence products shield the skin from moisture and bacteria.
Proper skin and wound treatment helps to prevent and treat chronic wounds. It is important to address any medical problems faced by a senior individual before the problem has the opportunity to grow worse.