Atypical and Complex Wounds

Jeffrey M. Levine's picture

Jeffrey M. Levine, MD, AGSF

I was asked to perform a wound consult on a newly admitted resident to a post-acute unit of a nursing home. She rested quietly with a barely touched breakfast on her bedside table. Her aide had tried to feed her, but she accepted only small spoonfuls of oatmeal and a sip of orange juice. She came to our facility after a long hospitalization for COVID-19–related complications, including pneumonia, kidney failure, and septic shock that required pressor agents. While in the ICU on a ventilator, she developed a pressure injury. At 86 years old, her transfer papers revealed feeding tube refusal and a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

Bioburden: Normally defined as the number of bacteria living on a surface that has not been sterilized. The term is most often used in the context of bioburden testing, also known as microbial limit testing, which is a quality control test performed on medical devices and pharmaceutical products.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

Wound healing is a complicated process that restores the skin's barrier function to prevent further damage or infection. The healing process normally progresses through 4 phases: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. However, a chronic wound may result when a wound fails to progress through the normal phases of healing.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

The term chronic wound is frequently used when discussing challenges in wound care, and it is widely recognized as a wound state that presents a formidable public health challenge. Although this term has been used since the 1950s to describe wounds that are difficult to heal or those that do not follow the normal healing process, there has been uncertainty since that time about what conditions actually make a wound chronic.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

When a wound fails to progress through the phases of healing in a timely fashion despite the standard of care wound treatment provided, advanced therapies may be warranted. Wound care often needs a multifaceted approach that involves the treatment of entire patient, not just the wound. Clinicians should obtain a comprehensive medical history of the patient and conduct a thorough skin and wound assessment of the patient. This medical history and assessment will lay the foundation of initial treatment.

Holly Hovan's picture

Holly Hovan MSN, GERO-BC, APRN, CWOCN-AP

Peristomal pyoderma gangrenosum (PPG) is a somewhat uncommon and challenging condition to diagnose and treat, as no evidence-based guidelines or standard treatments exist. PPG can occur after the surgical placement of an ostomy, impacting approximately 0.5 to 1.5 people per million annually, and accounts for 15% of pyoderma gangrenosum cases. Effective management of PPG requires local and often systemic immunosuppression and topical wound care, which is compatible with being applied beneath an ostomy pouch.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

Chronic and complex wounds present a formidable challenge in health care. Nonhealing wounds impact approximately 1% of the world's population yet account for more than 2% to 4% of health care expenses. Wounds that require additional clinical efforts often include those that are chronic and resistant to therapy, those with increased risk, and those that reduce the patient's quality of life.

WoundSource Editors's picture

By the WoundSource Editors

The process of wound healing ideally progresses from inflammation to epithelialization and, finally, remodeling. If at any point bacterial (or fungal) colonization becomes prominent, the process of wound healing is disrupted. The creation of biofilm is a microbial defense mechanism that stalls the trajectory of healthy wound healing and can contribute to the development of a chronic wound. It is estimated that 90% of chronic wounds and 6% of acute wounds contain biofilms generated by microbes. Epidemiologically, chronic wounds impact 2% of the entire US population. Because of this large impact, knowledge of proper wound healing and use of clinical tools to assist the wound healing process are essential.

Elizabeth Dechant's picture

Elizabeth Day Dechant, BSN, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

Diaper rash, more officially known as incontinence-associated dermatitis (IAD), affects hospitalized and incontinent patients of all ages. In my years as a WOC Nurse in a pediatric hospital, IAD has been by far the most frequently treated condition. However, outside of a health care setting, IAD is the most common skin problem in infants and young children who are not yet toilet trained. Diaper rash has plagued babies and new parents for centuries, yet its treatment remains highly debated. For the purpose of this article, I am focusing on the prevention and treatment of diaper rashes in infants and young children, although the principles of topical treatment discussed here apply to all patients.

WoundSource Practice Accelerator's picture

Chronic and nonhealing wounds are a worldwide issue and are becoming more difficult to treat. In the United States alone, according to Medicare, over 8 million Americans have chronic wounds that cost the national health care system between $18.1 and $96.8 billion per year. If standard treatment does not adequately heal a wound, additional methods of wound care treatment may be required, and the underlying disorder must be examined to determine the need for advanced wound care modalities. Advanced wound care therapies are interventions that are used after standard wound care has failed.