Part of the important tasks of caregivers in nursing homes is the care of wounds. Many patients have wounds of various types. Staff members must take note of any scrapes, lacerations, pressure ulcers, or other wounds, and take steps to properly treat them. This wound care is part of the daily assistance that should be provided at nursing homes and other care facilities.
The first step in treating wounds in nursing home patients is to identify them. It may not always be easy to recognize medical problems. For this reason, caregivers need to be properly trained to watch for wounds on nursing home patients. Some residents are more susceptible to wounds than others. This increased risk factor should be noted in their records so that staff members are more careful to watch for these types of problems.
Types of Wounds
Wounds may occur for a number of reasons. Wounds from surgical procedures are quite common among nursing home patients. These wounds are generally classified into primary or secondary types. Primary wounds are those where stitches or staples were used to repair the skin. Secondary wounds are those that cannot be repaired with staples, and must be left open to heal properly.
Wounds may also occur from accidents while in the facility. Another type of wound that appears on nursing home patients is the pressure ulcer. These wounds start as small red marks but can quickly progress into deep, open wounds. Pressure ulcers, also called bedsores, occur mostly to patients who are bedridden or have limited movement capabilities. They happen due to constant rubbing of the skin on bed linens.
Get Medical Treatment
The elderly often have lowered immune systems, and may have more difficulty healing, and fighting off infections. Even a small wound can turn into a life-threatening medical emergency if not properly treated. All types of wounds require evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment by a doctor. The doctor will provide medication, if necessary. The sooner treatment is rendered, the better, because a patient’s health can deteriorate rapidly. If infected, a wound can turn deadly.
Follow a Treatment Plan
Whenever possible, it is best to obtain a treatment plan from a qualified physician. The doctor should examine the patient’s wound and review their medical history to determine the appropriate course of action. This should not be left to a non-professional. A treatment plan is essential for nursing homes to provide proper care to patients. The plan outlines the type of care necessary, along with specific details such as when and how to administer medication, and how to keep the wound clean. The plan makes it easier for nursing home staff to give patients the type of care needed to ensure that their condition does not worsen.
Caring for Wounds
Small or minor wounds may only require basic care. This consists of keeping the wound clean, moist, and free from pressure. Advanced care is necessary for open wounds or those that are deep. These wounds may need packing. Serious wounds may need debridement, which is performed by a doctor.