Wound Care In The Elderly
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Elderly people are prone to a number of health issues, but perhaps the most worrying is when they sustain a wound. Wound care in the elderly is extremely important, as their blood circulation is no longer what it used to be. Due to poor blood circulation, wounds can take a very long time to heal. And, wound can be more frightening if the elderly suffers from diabetes, as they make take forever to heal!
It is important that even a small cut is treated immediately in an elderly person, or else it could become something severe within no time. Generally, when elderly people get cut, they often do not realize how badly they have but themselves. So, they neglect the cut thinking that it will get alright on its own. However, this is not the right way to manage wounds in the elderly. Be a small nick with the knife or a scrape from a fall, make sure that the wound is immediately attended to.
Any wound, no matter how small it is, should be immediately treated. It should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to avoid an infection. This is especially true if the person has diabetes, as a small wound can easily turn septic and thereafter gangrenous, which would require amputation of the limb.
Make sure that you have a first aid kit in the house with proper dressing, disinfectant, cotton wool, gauze, and anything else you need to treat wounds in an elderly person. Keep reminding the elderly that wound care is important and they should never neglect the smallest of scrapes or cuts. If the person steps on a rust nail, make sure that you rush him/her to emergency to get a tetanus shot. The doctor will check the wound, dress it and suggest whether any other shot is required, such as an antibiotic.
Wounds are commonly among elderly who are bedridden. These wounds are known as pressure sores, and develop from lying on the same spot for long duration. If an elderly person is suffering from pressure sores, make sure that the wounds are dressed with proper medication and also ensure that the person is turned periodically to avoid more sores from developing.
Elderly people have dry skin and this type of skin is prone to cuts. Hence, make sure that the person drinks enough water throughout the day. This will help to hydrate the skin. If necessary also apply a moisturizer on the skin to enhance elasticity. Furthermore, make sure that the person consumes a balanced diet, so that he/she gets all the necessary vitamins and minerals to facilitate wound healing. If the person is a poor eater, get in touch with the doctor and ask for supplements, such as multivitamins and Vitamin E.
Wound care in the elderly can be frustrating, as the wound make take a long time to heal. However, during this period, ensure that the area is kept clean and dry. It may become necessary to change the dressing many times a day. You should do this to avert an infection. Clean the wound thoroughly when changing the dressing and then apply an anti-bacterial ointment or any other medication that the doctor has prescribed. If the doctor has put the person on antibiotics, make sure that the person completes the full course of the treatment.
If the person gets fever and the wound looks red and is oozing continuously, it may be necessary to take the person to the doctor immediately. The doctor will be the best person to suggest further course of action. Just be calm and allow the doctor to do his/her job.
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