Understanding Elderly Wound Care

bandage for elderly wound careWhether you or your loved one are living at home or in a skilled nursing or assisted living community, you need to know about elderly wound care.

Some people think that chronic wounds in the elderly are mostly a problem with nursing homes. Unfortunately, they’re not. Why? Because seniors are more likely to have a number of medical issues going on at the same time. And that means that wounds, whether acute or chronic, are going to be more of an issue for them.

Today we’re going to talk about acute wounds.

Acute Wound Care

Acute wounds are the sudden wounds that are a part of everyday life. You know, scrapes, falls, paper-cuts, and accidents with things like scissors and knives. They can also occur as a result of a medical procedure – an ingrown nail, removal of a mole, or even an incision from surgery. What’s common to all of them is that they happen at once – they’re not something that developed – and they all require immediate medical attention.

Elderly wound care after a medical procedure is easy. The attending doctor will attend to the wound; all you have to do is follow any instructions and keep an eye on it. In the case of accidental wounds, do the following:

  • In the case of heavy bleeding, apply pressure to control it
  • Clean the wound with soap or antibacterial solution
  • If the wound was caused by glass, wood shards, etc., try to remove any debris from the wound
  • Keep the wound moist and covered until you get to a doctor

If the doctor prescribes antibacterial creams or oral antibiotics, make sure your loved one follows the directions. If you think the wound might be infected or getting infected, call your loved one’s doctor or contact the medical team at their place of residence. And make sure that they’re eating well; believe it or not, nutrition plays a huge role in elderly wound care.

Wound Care Warning Signs

According to Linda S. Meola, Program Director at the Stamford Health Wound Care, Ostomy and Hyperbaric Center, acute wounds “should show signs of healing within two weeks and be largely healed in four weeks.” If that doesn’t happen, make sure your loved one gets medical attention right away. Acute wounds that don’t heal can turn into chronic wounds, and that’s really bad news.

Some wound care warning signs:

  • The wound doesn’t stop bleeding
  • The dressing falls off
  • Pain from the wound increases, or comes back after it stopped
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Redness and/or warmth around the wounded area
  • There is drainage or odor coming from the wound.

If you’re in doubt, always err on the side of caution. Better to go to the doctor once or twice for nothing, than not to go when it was crucial.

Have you tended to a wounded loved on? Please let us know how you dealt with it in the comments below.