by Jennifer Hurlow, GNP, CWOCN, and Kara Couch, MS, CRNP, CWCN-AP
Chronic wounds are increasingly recognized as a global public health issue. Recent research revealed that nearly 15% of Medicare beneficiaries (>65 years of age) had at least one type of chronic wound in 2014. In the United States, there are an estimated 6.5 million chronic wounds, including leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, and diabetic foot ulcers, each of which carries a mean annual treatment cost of $11,000, $15,400, and $42,100, respectively, leading to an economic burden of $96.8 billion dollars for the treatment of chronic wounds. Prevalence of chronic wounds is estimated to be growing at a rate of 13% per year, further adding to this current problem. Wound chronicity has been directly related to the presence of wound biofilm. Costerton and colleagues were the first to link biofilm with general infection risk.