Wound Care 101

Emily Greenstein's picture
Patient-Centered Wound Care

By Emily Greenstein, APRN, CNP, CWON

Recently I was able to attend the Spring Symposium on Advanced Wound Care (SAWC) in San Antonio, Texas. I attended many different lectures, presented, and sat on a few expert panels. The one recurring theme that kept echoing was the need to look at the whole picture. Often, as wound specialists, we get in the habit of looking just at the wound without taking into consideration the underlying comorbidities and potential causes of the wound in the first place. This got me thinking, how do I treat a new patient who comes into my wound center? I decided to put together the top five "tips" to remember to look at the whole patient, not just the hole in the patient (as originally stated by Dr. Carrie Sussman, DPT, PT).

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Edema

By the WoundSource Editors

Edema is swelling that occurs when there is an excessive amount of fluids within the intracellular space, typically within subcutaneous tissues. Edema is more commonly experienced in the lower extremities and other areas that are farther from the heart. Edema may be dependent, caused by gravitational forces on the fluids that are greater than the mechanisms designed to overcome these forces. Edema may also be generalized throughout the entire body or localized, restricted to a single area.

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Wound Chronicity

by the WoundSource Editors

Chronic wounds affect over 6.5 million people annually in the United States, with a total cost of over $26.8 billion per year. Proper identification of chronic wounds is necessary to develop an effective treatment plan, although many elements—such as intrinsic and extrinsic factors, comorbidities, and mixed etiologies—may complicate this process.

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Pressure Injury

by the WoundSource Editors

Wound healing is a complex process that is highly dependent on many skin cell types interacting in a defined order. With chronic wounds, this process is disrupted, and healing does not normally progress. Although there are different types of chronic wounds, those occurring from injury, such as skin tears or pressure injuries, are some of the most common. These injuries are a result of repeated mechanical irritation. Moisture-associated skin damage is another condition that can contribute to chronicity. Understanding the causes and contributors to these injuries can help to minimize patients’ risk of developing them. It can also aid in the formation of an optimal treatment plan for when injuries do occur, which reduces the healing time and leads to better patient outcomes.

Emily Greenstein's picture
Wound Care

by Emily Greenstein, APRN, CNP, CWON

"When I grow up, I want to be a wound care specialist." That's not something you hear kids going around saying. Sure, kids want to be doctors or nurses. But wound care specialist?

When you think about it, being a wound specialist is not a glamorous position, unlike being a neurosurgeon. The best quote that I ever heard from a colleague of mine was, "No one wants to do wound care; wound care isn't sexy." This may be true, but what is wound care then? To me it is ever changing, it is learning new things (most of which are not found in text books), and it is about helping patients heal both emotionally and physically from a chronic condition.

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Surgical Wound

by the WoundSource Editors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate approximately 30 million surgical procedures are performed annually in the United States.1 Advances in technology have afforded patients options such as minimally invasive surgery, commonly known as laparoscopic or arthroscopic surgery, which tend to result in much smaller (1cm–2cm) incisions.

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foam wound dressing

Wound dressings can accelerate the healing process by protecting the injury or wound from bacteria and creating an environment which supports healthy healing. Foam dressings are an effective tool for moist wound healing and are particularly useful in preventing dressing-related trauma, managing exuding wounds, and minimizing dressing discomfort and pain.

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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.