No matter how much you try to protect your residents, some injuries are inevitable, so it’s always best to be prepared. As well as stocking up on items such as dressings and bandages, it’s also important to ensure that staff are trained on proper wound dressing techniques, and that good hygiene practices are in place to minimise the chances of infection.
Elderly people are more likely to experience delayed wound healing than their younger counterparts for a number of reasons, including delayed inflammatory responses and reduced skin elasticity. It’s therefore particularly important to monitor the healing of wounds amongst older residents.
A useful starting point is to consider some of the most likely reasons why a resident might need wound care. By carrying out a risk assessment, you can take the precautions required to make your care home a safer place, as well as anticipating the kinds of dressings and supplies you might need to keep in stock.
Common causes of wounds in elderly individuals include trips and falls, pressure ulcers and burns. If residents have recently undergone surgery, they may also have wounds which require special attention.
In any person - young or old – the skin’s healing process follows a certain pattern. However, the wound may fail to heal properly if one of the stages of healing is interrupted. Normal wound healing stages include:
Though care home staff can't do much to speed up the natural healing process, they can help prevent some of the barriers which can impede healing, such as:
Hygiene is a crucial factor when it comes to preventing infection and helping wounds heal quickly, and it is particularly important when dealing with wounds in post-surgical care.
In practice, this means making sure that all staff are aware of the importance of washing their hands and applying gloves before dealing with wounds. As well as this, staff should ensure that the resident continues to bathe regularly, and is given help to bathe if needed.
Without proper hygiene measures, wounds in elderly patients could fail to heal, which in time could lead to more serious problems.
Care home staff can support residents in a number of ways to help improve healing, including:
We hope you’ve found our tips on wound care for elderly residents useful. At Care Shop, you can find a wide range of medical supplies including specialist bandages and dressings, so you can stock up on everything you need to need to provide the very best care.