Acute Wound Care for the Elderly – What Works
Whether you’re living on your own or in an assisted living community, knowing how to care for a wound properly is an important step in maintaining your independence as long as possible. Acute wounds can happen to anyone at any time, but because their skin is more fragile, the elderly are more at risk for tears and abrasions.
What is an Acute Wound?
An acute wound is an injury to the skin that happens suddenly rather than gradually over a period of time. Acute wounds heal predictably according to the normal healing process. There are two basic causes of this kind of wound: surgery and trauma.
As the name suggests, surgical wounds are those experienced during the course of surgery. These are created purposefully by a medical professional and will have precise, clean edges. If you have had surgery, follow your doctor’s instructions for post surgical care.
Traumatic wounds, on the other hand, are a little less predictable. They can be caused when a rough surface (such as concrete or pavement) scrapes against the skin, or by a hard blow that tears the skin (such as one received by bumping against the corner of a piece of furniture). Acute wounds can also be caused when a sharp pointed object (like a nail) punctures the skin or when a sharp object (like a knife or razor) creates a clean cut.
Caring for an Acute Wound
If you or a loved one suffers a sudden acute wound as a result of trauma, these are the steps to care for it properly:
- Control the bleeding. In a minor scrape, bleeding will frequently stop on its own. Otherwise, you may need to apply pressure
- Clean the wound. For surface wounds, soap and water will do the trick. Saline solution may be necessary for deeper cuts or deep puncture wounds.
- Remove dirt, debris, glass shards, or other foreign materials. This is known as debridement. You may be able to accomplish this on your own, but if there is any dead tissue that needs to be removed, you should consult a doctor.
- Dress or close the wound. Minor wounds may simply need to be covered with a bandage, while others may need to be closed with stitches or staples.
- Take medication if necessary. You may need to take medication to control pain or swelling. Or your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to fight infection. You may also need to receive a tetanus shot if it has been more than 10 years since your last one or if the wound is especially deep or dirty.
While it is possible to treat some acute wounds at home, others may require the attention of a doctor. Deep wounds that may require stitches, those caused by being bitten, wounds that show signs of infection, and injuries that won’t stop bleeding are all reasons to call a medical professional.
Accidents happen, but many acute wounds can be prevented simply by being careful and exercising common sense. In the elderly, falls are a common source of injury. See our past post on fall prevention for tips on avoiding falls at home.
Visit the Davis Community’s Assisted Living in Wilmington NC
If you or loved one are no longer capable of living a safe, independent lifestyle, then call the Davis Community today at 910.686.7195 or simply complete and submit our online information! request form. We provide exceptional assisted living in Wilmington NC with a strong and supportive environment where your loved one will feel welcomed and part of an active community. Get to know the difference today – schedule a visit to the Davis Community!