Advanced Wound Care: Treatment Essential to Promote Healing and Quality of Life

There are many reasons you or a loved one may suffer from wounds. As you age, wounds become more common. Proper long-term care services and treatment will maintain a better quality of life.

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Advanced Wound Care: Treatment Essential to Promote Healing and Quality of Life
6 Min Read July 1st, 2024

Chronic wounds are a significant challenge for many long-term care residents, impacting an estimated 4 million people in the United States, according to the National Pressure Injury Advisory Panel.

Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that older adults are at a higher risk of developing chronic wounds due to complications associated with aging.

These wounds can significantly affect a person's ability to perform daily activities like dressing, bathing, and eating. Fortunately, advancements in wound care offer a variety of treatment options to promote healing, improve quality of life, and prevent complications.

As you or a loved one ages, you may notice that wounds or injuries don't heal as quickly as they once did. This is no coincidence. The impact of age on the body's ability to heal itself is well-documented.

Not only are older adults more likely to experience injuries, but the healing process also takes longer. These chronic wounds can profoundly impact the overall quality of life, affecting mobility, comfort, and independence.

Chronic wounds often develop due to underlying medical conditions like diabetes, vascular disease, or pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, are prevalent in long-term care settings where residents have limited mobility. If left untreated, these types of wounds can become infected and lead to serious health complications.

Prompt and proper wound care is crucial for long-term care patients. It can significantly reduce pain and discomfort, prevent infections, and ultimately help care recipients regain their independence and perform daily activities.

Advanced Wound Care Options

David D'Angelo, DO, the director at  Penn Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, says treating chronic wounds isn't a sprint—it's a marathon.

While chronic wounds can be successfully treated, they may reoccur over time for some patients. This is a common experience, and it speaks to the complexity of wound care. There are a myriad of variables that can contribute to a patient's wound reopening, including any comorbid disease, advanced age, malnutrition, etc.

Modern wound care centers offer a range of innovative treatments beyond traditional bandages.

  • Advanced Dressings: These specialized dressings, like hydrogels, foams, and alginates, create a moist environment that promotes healing and prevents infection. Antimicrobial dressings provide an additional layer of protection against infection, particularly beneficial for long-term care residents with weakened immune systems.
  • Surgical Interventions: Surgical procedures like debridement (removal of dead tissue) or skin grafts (transferring healthy skin to the wound site) may be necessary for severe or non-healing wounds. These procedures promote new tissue growth and accelerate the healing process.
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): This non-invasive treatment utilizes pressurized oxygen chambers to increase oxygen levels in the blood. This can enhance tissue repair and reduce inflammation, promoting healing in chronic wounds. Patients undergoing HBOT will often experience faster healing times, making this a valuable option for those with persistent wounds. Patients may receive individualized treatment in a monoplace chamber or with other patients in a multiple chamber. Compare monoplace and multiplace HBOT chambers and consult a medical care team to find the right option for your wound care needs.
  • Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT): NPWT applies a vacuum dressing to the wound, drawing out excess fluids and promoting blood flow. This technique helps create a cleaner wound bed and speeds up healing, and it is particularly effective for large or deep wounds.
  • Bioengineered Skin Substitutes: These innovative products provide a scaffold for new tissue growth and offer a protective covering for extensive wounds. Made from synthetic or biological materials, they can significantly reduce healing time and improve patient outcomes.

Innovative Non-Antibiotic Treatment for Chronic Wounds

A team of international scientists has developed an effective treatment for chronic wounds that does not rely on antibiotics but instead uses ionized gas to activate wound dressings.

The treatment involves the plasma activation of hydrogel dressings, commonly used in wound care, with a unique mix of chemical oxidants. These oxidants effectively decontaminate and aid healing in chronic wounds.

Researchers from the University of Sheffield and the University of South Australia, who led the study, believe this new method is a significant advance in tackling antibiotic-resistant pathogens and has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers and internal wounds.

Professor Rob Short, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield and co-author of the study says that millions of people have diabetes worldwide, and many will suffer from foot ulcers, a common wound.

More than 540 million people are living with diabetes worldwide, with 30 percent expected to develop a foot ulcer during their lifetime. This is a neglected global pandemic set to increase due to rising obesity and lack of exercise.

Between 60,000 and 75,000 people in England are treated for diabetic foot ulcers weekly. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 19% to 34% of people with diabetes will develop a diabetic foot ulcer in their lifetime, translating to millions of potential cases in the U.S. and Canada combined, given the high prevalence of diabetes in both countries.

Infection poses a significant risk, with many infections no longer responding to standard antibiotic treatment due to resistant bacteria, leading to approximately 7,000 amputations annually.

There is an urgent need for innovation in wound management and treatment.

The cost of managing chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, already exceeds $17 billion annually.

Finding the Right Treatment

The specific wound care approach is tailored to the individual patient's needs and type of wound. A multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including physicians, nurses, and wound care specialists, will collaborate to develop a personalized treatment plan.

By embracing these advanced wound care techniques, long-term care facilities can significantly improve the lives of their residents. Faster healing times, reduced pain, and a return to daily activities all contribute to a better quality of life for those facing the challenges of chronic wounds.

Minimizing the Impact of Wounds - Prevention is Key

Chronic wounds can significantly impact the lives of long-term care residents, causing pain and discomfort and hindering daily activities. In-home caregivers and long-term care staff are crucial in preventing and managing wounds, ensuring care recipients experience the highest possible quality of life.

Quality caregivers and facilities will inspect care recipients' skin for signs of redness, irritation, or breakdown. They pay particular attention to areas at high risk for pressure ulcers, like the buttocks, heels, and elbows.

Since dehydration contributes to dry, fragile skin, making it more susceptible to wounds, caregivers encourage drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.

If you have a loved one living in a long-term care facility who has limited mobility, be sure they are repositioned in their bed every 2-4 hours. This is crucial to prevent pressure ulcers. Exercises or passive range-of-motion techniques to promote circulation are also helpful.

Family members should communicate with caregivers, nurses, physicians, and wound care specialists about any changes in wound appearance, drainage levels, or pain levels their loved one may be experiencing. Early detection of complications is essential for prompt intervention.

Quality Long-Term Care Services Maintain Better Quality of Life

Experienced caregivers and well-staffed long-term care facilities are better able to limit complications and help those with wound issues maintain a better quality of life.

If you are looking for quality long-term care services for your loved one, use the LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory. With over 80,000 listings of caregivers, senior communities, and long-term care facilities, it is the largest database of long-term care providers in the country and is free to use.

Providers can claim and update their free listing and even add additional content at a modest cost - LTC News Directory Business Portal.

Remember, health insurance and Medicare will pay only for short-term skilled care. Unless you have Long-Term Care Insurance or qualify for Medicaid because of limited financial resources, you or a loved one will bear the cost of long-term care services.

LTC Insurance cannot be purchased when you or a loved one needs long-term care. It is usually purchased between ages 40 and 67 because of medical underwriting

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About the Author

Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.

LTC News Contributor Mallory Knee

Mallory Knee

Contributor since September 25th, 2020

Editor's Note

As you age, the future need for long-term care can significantly impact your family and finances. The rising costs of care can quickly drain your retirement savings, forcing your loved ones to make tough choices about providing and paying for the necessary support. This financial strain can be overwhelming and may compromise the quality of life you've worked hard to achieve.

Including Long-Term Care Insurance in your comprehensive retirement plan is a proactive way to protect your income and assets and ensure you receive the care you need without burdening your family.

LTC Insurance provides guaranteed tax-free benefits that can cover the cost of quality care in any setting, whether at home, in an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. This not only safeguards your financial security but also allows your family members to focus on maintaining their relationship with you rather than becoming full-time caregivers.

Benefits of Long-Term Care Insurance:

  • Asset Protection: Shields your retirement savings and assets from the high costs of long-term care.
  • Guaranteed Quality Care: Ensures access to quality care in any setting tailored to your needs.
  • Family Support: Allows your family members to remain family, providing emotional support rather than direct care.
  • Peace of Mind: Offers reassurance that your future care needs will be met without financial stress.
  • Independence: Helps you maintain control over your care choices, preserving your dignity and quality of life.

The ideal time to acquire a Long-Term Care Insurance policy is in your 40s or 50s when premiums are at the lowest and, perhaps more importantly, your health is better. Your reasonably good health allows you the opportunity to obtain coverage. Those in their 60s and even 70s can find many options, depending on health.

Premiums and underwriting rules vary dramatically between insurance companies offering long-term care solutions.

Seek help from a qualified, independent Long-Term Care Insurance specialist to assist you in finding the best coverage at the lowest cost. Be sure the specialist works with multiple top-rated insurance companies to provide accurate quotes.

Parents Deserve the Best Quality Care- So Will You

The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory is an easy way to find access to quality care providers near you or a loved one. Use the directory to search for the best care options - Find Quality Long-Term Care Services Near You.

There are over 80,000 caregivers and facilities listed, so you can quickly make a few clicks and find long-term care options. Plus, there is no charge for this service.

If they have an LTC Insurance policy, use the benefits immediately. Care recipients have a better quality of life when they receive quality care as soon as needed. 

LTC NEWS has combined efforts with Amada Senior Care, a leading in-home healthcare agency with locations throughout the country, to help you process a claim from any LTC Insurance policy. 

There is no cost or obligation for this service - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

If they don't have an LTC policy, Amada can still help develop a plan of care and provide you with many affordable in-home care options. Learn more now - Find Quality In-Home Care.

These four LTC NEWS guides will assist you in trying to find appropriate long-term healthcare services for a loved one:

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