Apart from caring for patients living inside nursing homes and adult care facilities, one of the most important (if not the most important) skills a nurse needs to have is that of properly caring for wounds.
Being at an elderly age, patients in nursing homes are prone to developing wounds that can easily become infected if not given attention or turn into chronic non-healing wounds which are very difficult to treat.
This is one of the reasons why getting wound care certified is important for nurses who are assigned to nursing homes.
By getting equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to treat such wounds, not only are the skilled nursing facilities kept safe and clean, but it also allows the patients to live comfortably with less pain.
Common Wounds Found in Nursing Homes
Below are some of the most common wounds elderly patients living in nursing facilities usually develop.
Bedsores = Pressure Ulcers = Decubitus Ulcers
When an elderly patient stays in the same position for quite a long time (lying flat on their backs for example), it’s not uncommon for pressure ulcers to develop. Pressure ulcers develop commonly on immobile or bedbound patients when the pressure is not distributed.
This is especially true for patients who can no longer move on their own and already requires special assistance in performing daily tasks. Without proper attention and knowledge, this type of wound can go unnoticed, and when it does, it will make the patient’s life more difficult than it already is and increase morbidity and mortality.
Amputation Wounds, commonly seen in Diabetic patients
Amputations are also common in nursing homes, especially for diabetic patients.
While the amputation occurs in the hospital, the patients arrive at the nursing home with a healing surgical site from a diabetic foot ulcer. This surgical site is commonly a transmetatarsal or a below-knee amputation. This surgical site needs regular monitoring to make sure there is no dehiscence or infection.
Diabetic Foot Ulcer (DFU) is noted in about 5% of diabetics in the United States, 1% of which resulting in a toe amputation.
As important as these surgeries are, taking care of the post-operative wound is equally important because such wounds are susceptible to dehiscence and infections if not given the proper postoperative care.
Proper Wound Care
Given the patient’s advanced age in the Skilled Nursing Home, it’s not surprising how frail/fragile the bodies of elderly patients are.
Their bodies tend to have a harder time at healing wounds because of preexisting health conditions such as diabetes, COPD, malnutrition, the list goes on…
That being said, extra care and precaution should be taken in treating patients’ wounds. Patients should be moved regularly to keep them from developing bedsores and the sites should be looked at daily.
There’s no question that elderly patients’ wounds take more time to heal because of several factors. The patient’s age, lack of proper nutrition, and a host of other diseases can all affect the wound healing process. Becoming WSOC certified by the Wound Learning Academy and getting your Wound Care Certification will help you advance your career and allow for optimal patient care.