Wound Assessment

WoundSource Editors's picture
post-operative wound drainage

As health care professionals monitor the wound drainage of a patient, it is critical to be able to recognize the different types of wound drainage. Open wounds and incision wounds may both present varying types of exudate, some of which are perfectly healthy and others which can signal an infection or slow healing. Identifying wounds that need a change in care can speed the healing process. Here are the four main types of wound drainage health care professionals need to know.

WoundSource Editors's picture
tunneling wound assessment

Perhaps the most difficult type of wound for health care professionals to treat is a tunneling wound. Tunneling wounds are named for the channels which extend from the wound, into or through subcutaneous tissue or muscle. These tunnels sometimes take twists or turns that can make wound care complicated. Tunneling is often the result of infection, previous abscess formation, sedentary lifestyle, previous surgery at the site, trauma to the wound or surrounding tissue, or the impact of pressure and shear forces upon many tissue layers causing a “sinkhole-like” defect on the skin. Tunneling wounds need careful wound assessment and management.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture
pressure injury risk assessment

by the WoundSource Editors

Pressure ulcers/injuries pose a major risk to patients by increasing morbidity and mortality and causing significant discomfort.1 They are also prevalent, particularly in long-term care facilities, where patient populations may be at higher risk of developing pressure injuries as a result of factors of age, immobility, and comorbidities.2 To reduce the incidence of pressure injuries effectively, nurses and other health care professionals should be aware of the risk factors and the means to evaluate patients. This will allow caregivers to take steps to prevent problems before they develop and treat them more effectively if they do.

Holly Hovan's picture
Moisture on Skin

When nurses hear the term moisture, they usually almost always think of urinary or fecal incontinence, or both. There are actually several other reasons why a patient could be moist. Continued moisture breaks down the skin, especially when the pH of the aggravating agent is lower (urine, stomach contents—think fistula, stool). When there is too much moisture in contact with our skin for too long, we become vulnerable to this moisture, and our skin breaks down. Increased moisture places a patient at risk for a pressure injury as the skin is already in a fragile state.

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WoundSource Editors's picture
Surgical wound drainage

In normal wound healing, exudate plays an important role in allowing the migration of cells across the wound bed, facilitating the distribution of growth and immune factors vital to healing. Managing wound drainage involves making sure that exudate production is not too much or too little, and making sure the exudate does not have pus which would indicate an infection. Proper wound drainage management improves the patient's quality of life, promotes healing, and enhances health care effectiveness.

WoundSource Editors's picture
wound healing

The Wound Healing Process

Promoting the wound healing process is a primary responsibility for most health care practitioners. It can take 1-3 days for a closed wound to actually establish a seal. Infections usually occur in 3-6 days but may not appear for up to 30 days, according to the CDC guidelines for preventing surgical infections.

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Holly Hovan's picture
neuropathy testing for sensory perception (Braden Scale)

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

As wound care professionals, the Braden Scale is near and dear to our hearts. With that in mind, our evidence-based tool needs to be used correctly in order to yield accurate results. Working with long-term care and geriatric populations opens up a world of multiple pre-existing comorbidities and risk factors that aren’t always explicitly written into the Braden Scale categories. Additionally, the frequency of the Braden Scale may also contribute to a multitude of different scores; the resident behaves differently on different shifts, for example, asleep on night shift but up and about on days. What is the correct way to score them? I believe that a less frequent Braden Scale assessment yields more accurate results. However, we should still complete a Braden Scale on admission, transfer, receiving, and most importantly, with any change in condition.

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Holly Hovan's picture
comparison

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, CWOCN-AP

As wound care clinicians, we are aware that part of the process of consulting requires a comprehensive wound assessment, looking at wound characteristics, causative factors, and drainage. As I've previously mentioned, we've all heard the term, "a dry cell is a dead cell." However, not all wounds are dry.

Janet Wolfson's picture
compression therapy for lymphedema

By Janet Wolfson PT, CLWT, CWS, CLT-LANA

The intersection of wounds and lymphedema has been on my mind this week as challenging patients and a new reduction garment cross my dual specialty life.

Cheryl Carver's picture
pressure-injuries

By Cheryl Carver LPN, WCC, CWCA, CWCP, FACCWS, DAPWCA, CLTC

Incorrect staging of pressure injuries can cause many types of repercussions. Incorrect documentation can also be worse than no documentation. Pressure injuries and staging mistakes are avoidable, so educating clinicians how to stage with confidence is the goal.