Community Blog

Wound Care for Seniors

By Ketan Patel

Wound care is an important issue for seniors. As they age, their skin becomes thinner and loses moisture and the connective tissue it needs to keep it strong. To add to the problem, as people age the ability of the body to repair itself is weakened. Unfortunately, delay in the healing of wounds may lead to an increased vulnerability to infection. An in-home caregiver from an elder care agency can provide support to aging seniors by driving them to the doctor and helping the senior follow doctor’s orders to care for the wound.

Types of Wounds

Wounds are defined as injuries to the skin where it is torn, cut, punctured or pierced. Acute wounds go through a predictable process where the body repairs itself. However, a chronic wound that occurs as the result of diabetic ulcers, infection, surgery or other causes may require a hospital stay for treatment.

These are some of the more common types of wounds:

Acute

  • Abrasions: Abrasions or scrapes are caused by friction between a rough surface and the skin where the top layer is removed.
  • Incisions: Incisions are deep cuts that are made by sharp objects. They may cause deep injuries and blood loss.
  • Lacerations: Lacerations are tears that can damage underlying tissue and may cause hemorrhaging.
  • Punctures: Punctures are caused by pointed objects and can damage underlying organs or internal bleeding. Puncture wounds may cause a tetanus infection and should be treated.

Chronic

  • Contusions: Contusions, or bruises, are caused by blunt force and damage tissue underneath the skin.
  • Hematomas: Hematomas are blood tumors that are caused by damaged blood vessels that lead to blood collecting under the skin.

How Wounds Heal

For acute wounds, the body acts to heal itself in stages. The inflammatory phase starts immediately, and can last from 2-5 days. The wound starts to heal from the inside. Bleeding may continue on the surface of the skin, and a scab starts to form. The skin starts to regrow underneath the wound in the next stage, and new skin starts to develop. This stage can last several weeks. Next new blood vessels grow under the skin, and then the scab comes off.

Treating Wounds

  • Minor Wounds

Most minor wounds can be cared for at home. Wash the wound, remove any dirt or debris and disinfect it with an antiseptic cleaner like betadine. Control the bleeding and swelling with direct pressure and elevate the area. Use a sterile bandage to wrap the wound and keep it dry for five days. Avoid aspirin products for pain, since they may cause bleeding. If there is swelling or bruising, apply ice to the area.

  • Wounds that Need a Doctor

See a doctor if the wound is open and deeper than .5 inch or if the bleeding lasts longer than 20 minutes and does not stop with direct pressure. Medical treatment may be needed if the bleeding is a result of a serious accident, in which case the doctor may use sutures, stitches or skin glue to close the wound. You also may need a tetanus booster and an antibiotic like penicillin. For wounds that are difficult to heal or chronic, the doctor may recommend a hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Home Care Services for Seniors                     

The home care providers at Home Helpers of South Shore can help your loved one by monitoring medication, preparing meals, and helping with bathing and dressing. A caregiver can provide transportation for social activities and scheduled doctor’s appointments, and help out if an emergency occurs.

Home Helpers of South Shore is owned and operated by a compassionate health professional with a strong understanding of the needs of aging seniors. Contact Home Helpers to help your aging loved one. Please fill out the form on the left and we will get in touch with you about setting up in-home health care, or call us at 781-585-1244 to determine the plan that is right for you.

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Abington , Braintree , Brockton , Buzzards Bay , Carver , Cohasset, Dighton , Duxbury , Falmouth , Halifax , Hanson , Hingham , Holbrook , Hull , Humarock , Kingston , Lakeville , Marshfield , Mashpee , Middleboro , Norwell , Pembroke , Plymouth , Plympton , Quincy , Randolph , Rockland , Sandwich , Scituate , Taunton , Wareham , Weymouth , Whitman