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The Future of Pressure Injury Prevention

By the WoundSource Editors

Pressure injuries represent a great challenge in patient care, as well as a significant burden on the health care system. This burden is likely to continue to increase as a result of the growing geriatric population, along with the increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Recent estimates in the United States show annual costs of pressure injury treatment to be approximately $9.1 to $11.6 billion. In addition to cost, these localized injuries to the skin are often very painful for patients, particularly as the injuries become more severe.

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Pressure Injury Interventions in Special Populations

By the WoundSource Editors

Pressure injuries require complex care. They can be incredibly painful for patients, and they represent an enormous financial burden on the health care system. Nationally, pressure ulcers cost between approximately $9.1 and $11.6 billion annually to treat. A subset of these patients includes those who are particularly prone to developing pressure ulcers as a result of comorbid conditions. This subset includes patients who may have cognitive disabilities, those who have a spinal injury or have undergone an amputation, and bariatric patients.

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Skin Care for Pressure Injury Prevention

By the WoundSource Editors

Pressure injuries are a significant risk for patients and pose a tremendous clinical challenge to medical providers. Serious pressure injuries can present a substantial threat to patients' survival when comorbidities are present, and even less serious pressure injuries can negatively affect a patient's comfort and well-being. Although some pressure injuries are unavoidable, best practices in patient skin care can greatly reduce the risk in many circumstances, with some research demonstrating that up to 95% of pressure injuries are preventable.

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Patient Preparation for Pressure Injury Prevention

By the WoundSource Editors

With aging populations facing increasingly complex comorbid medical conditions coupled with polypharmacy and multidrug-resistant organisms, wound healing can often feel like an uphill, never-ending battle. There are often elements that cannot be allayed, and some factors will always be outside the control of the patient and the practitioner. Barriers that can be eliminated should be, but sometimes compliance is a concern.

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by the WoundSource Editors

Antimicrobial: Describing the property pertaining to any of several categories of agents that are intended to be toxic to pathogenic organisms, including antibacterials, antiprotozoals, antifungals, and antiparasitics.

Chronic wound: A wound that has failed to re-epithelialize after three months, usually because of failure to progress past the inflammatory phase of wound healing.

Intraoperative phase: The time period beginning when the patient is brought to the operating suite and ending when the patient’s procedure is complete, typically when skin is closed and dressed and the patient is transferred to the post-anesthesia or recovery unit.

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Management of Surgical Wounds

By the WoundSource Editors

Wounds resulting from surgical procedures have many commonalities with wounds of other etiologies. However, there are a few notable differences in their classification, as well as in the recommended care practices that promote the healing of these wounds. In understanding these differences, it is important to understand the classification of surgical wounds.

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Surgical Wound Healing

By the WoundSource Editors

The number of surgical procedures performed in the United States has been increasing annually by as much as 300% over a 10-year period. Although technological advances in surgical procedures have allowed some procedures to be performed using minimally invasive techniques, many operations still require incisions, which require special care to prevent dehiscence and surgical site infections (SSIs). SSIs occur in 2% to 4% of all patients undergoing surgical procedures, and they are among the most expensive inpatient harms, adding approximately $30,000 to the total hospital cost per infection.

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Preventing Surgical Site Infections

By the WoundSource Editors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define a surgical site infection (SSI) as "an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place." The CDC go on to say the infection can be superficial involving just the skin or more serious infections can occur that involve deeper structures, such as tissue under the skin, organs, or implanted devices or materials. The CDC offer tools and guidelines to prevent SSIs and provide education to the public. Public education includes tips and advice on how to prevent patient surgical sites from becoming infected. Although such steps may not always prevent a surgical wound from becoming infected, it is always important to involve the patient in postoperative care.

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Surgical Wound Infection Assessment

By the WoundSource Editors

With an associated cost of $3.5 billion to $10 billion spent annually on surgical site infections (SSIs) and complications in the United States, it is important to know how to assess for surgical wound complications. There is a difference between the normal cascade response and a brewing infection. Symptoms of infection are often the first clue that there is more occurring in the wound than meets the eye.

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by the WoundSource Editors

Cellular and/or tissue-based products: Formally referred to as skin substitutes, these are engineered products, both cellular and acellular, intended to facilitate biological repair or regeneration of wound tissue by providing signaling, structural, or cellular elements.

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