Understanding the Importance of Elderly Wound Care
At any age, it’s important to know how to care for a wound in order to prevent infection. What happens, though, when a wound won’t heal? And what if it’s an elderly wound not healing? Is there a special treatment process for your senior loved one’s wound? Read on to learn more about what causes wounds to heal slowly, as well as how to care for slow-healing wounds in the elderly.
What Causes Slow Healing of Wounds?
At a basic level, wounds heal when the skin regenerates itself and begins to knit together, closing the wound site. The process begins when blood vessels and platelets combine to build a clot at the site of the wound, allowing skin cells to grow across the clotted area. Then, collagen begins to grow in the wound allowing it to close. In a younger individual, this regeneration process happens fairly rapidly; however, there are numerous barriers that can slow the wound-healing process, including things like dead skin (also known as necrosis), an infection of the wound, poor diet (causing a lack of nutrients necessary to help the healing process), smoking or even certain medications.
If a wound is very slow-healing or fails to heal entirely, it becomes what is known as a chronic wound. Chronic wounds can increase the risk of infection at the wound site, as well as cause immobility or a decline in the quality of life for the wounded. It’s important to take proper care of the wound site so as to avoid these complications. Proper wound care management is especially important in the elderly, as wound healing in the geriatric patient can come with additional complications.
Why Do Wounds Take Longer to Heal in the Elderly?
For a younger individual, the wound healing process described above can happen quickly because the skin has the ability to regenerate at a more efficient pace. However, as a person ages, the skin loses this ability and the regeneration process slows, putting more mature skin at an increased risk of infection or other complications. Additionally, wounds that won’t heal in elderly individuals can also be associated with chronic diseases – diabetes, hypertension, peripheral vascular disease, etc. – that are becoming more common among older adults. These diseases can compromise the integrity of the skin, leaving it more susceptible to chronic wounds and infection. Chronic leg wounds in the elderly are particularly common: Approximately 3.5% of seniors suffer from leg ulcers, with recurrence rates sometimes as high as 70%.
Having trouble treating a slow-healing or chronic wound for yourself or your senior loved one? Reach out for professional help to avoid the possibility of infection or other adverse complications. Senior rehabilitation centers that offer wound care, like Mattoon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, offer short-term therapeutic services designed to help you recover in a shorter amount of time.
Avoid Complications of Chronic Wounds with Proper Wound Care
Treating chronic wounds takes practice and skill, especially when it comes to wound care for elderly thin skin. Don’t rely on traditional treatment methods to treat a slow-healing wound for yourself or your loved one. When it comes to treating chronic wounds for seniors, you can trust in our licensed and experienced staff at Mattoon Rehabilitation & Health Care Center.
At Mattoon, our staff will work with your family and physician(s) to develop an individualized, comprehensive care plan based on your needs. In addition to our excellent wound care, we offer senior rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational and speech therapy; exercise groups; recreational programs; infectious disease care and skilled nursing care, and more.
Have questions? Give us a call today at 217-235-7138 or contact us to learn more about how Mattoon can help you or your senior loved one recover successfully. We look forward to meeting you!