Laurie Swezey's blog

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

Whirlpool therapy, or hydrotherapy, is one of the oldest adjuvant forms of treatment for wounds still in use today. It was originally used in pain management, but later found a use in wound management, particularly in the management of burn patients.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

During our training, we are all taught about the three phases of normal wound healing: inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. This is a relatively well-understood area of wound management, and one that is predictable and consistent. Sadly, in wound management as in life, nothing is ever quite that simple. A number of wounds appear to deviate from this well-organized process, and go on to present major healing difficulties.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

Ultrasound was successfully used as a non-invasive diagnostic tool for years before its potential benefits in wound healing were first investigated. Ultrasound waves, formed when electrical energy is converted to sound waves at frequencies above the range of human hearing, are now routinely used in wound management, and can be transferred to tissue through a treatment applicator. The depth of penetration is dependent on the frequency, with higher frequencies resulting in lower tissue penetration.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

When we are caught up in complex treatment protocols or surrounded by paperwork, it is sometimes easy to forget that the one thing that really matters in wound management is achieving wound closure. When a wound has closed properly, our work is done. Given the fundamental nature of wound closure, it is worth spending a few moments recapping what we know about the subject.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

Diabetic foot ulcers are one of the most dreaded complications of diabetes, and represent a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. It is estimated that a lower limb is sacrificed every 30 seconds somewhere in the world due to diabetes, and that diabetes is the reason for almost 50% of non-traumatic amputations of the lower leg throughout the world. Considering these facts, proper management of diabetic foot ulcers is of paramount importance.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

Patient care must always be centered holistically, considering the specific problem that the patient is being treated for, as well as all other factors that may affect patient wellbeing. Wound care is no different: in addition to wound assessment and treatment, all other considerations that may impact the patient must be taken into account. Such considerations may include social, psychological, physical, nutritional, and lifestyle factors. Overlooking one of these important realms may lead to non-adherence on the part of the patient, which in turn may lead to a non-healing, chronic wound.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

The sheer number of dressings available makes choosing the correct dressing for clients a difficult proposition. Clinicians today have a much wider variety of products to choose from, which can lead to confusion and, sometimes, the wrong type of dressing for a particular wound. Knowing the types of dressings available, their uses and when not to use a particular dressing may be one of the most difficult decisions in wound care management.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, FACCWS

Our eating habits are ingrained in us from an early age, and are often difficult to change. Eating is not only a physical necessity, but a social act that can have psychological components as well. As practitioners, we often know what our patients need to do to speed wound healing. Getting our patients on board, however, can be a challenge.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, FACCWS

Making decisions in today’s wound care world must take several entities into account. The patient/client and the practitioner must work together to decide on a dressing protocol that meets the needs of both. Additionally, the needs of the practitioner’s employer, whether home care agency, hospital, or other facility, must also be considered (i.e. cost). Appropriate wound care product use must maintain a balance, satisfying the demands of all three entities.

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By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, FACCWS

Heels are particularly vulnerable to skin breakdown. The posterior heel is only covered by a thin layer of skin and fat, and that makes breakdown a very real risk. When patients lie supine, all of the pressure of their lower legs and feet rest on the heels, which have relatively poor skin perfusion and a paucity of muscle tissue to absorb stress.

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