Wound care is a collaborative effort between you and your patient. There are numerous wound management guidelines that favor both the clinician and the patient. The following are the top five guidelines to bear in mind:
- Wound cleansing – at one time, wounds were cleansed or irrigated with solutions that later proved to be toxic to healthy cells. Most experts now recommend using normal saline for wound cleansing and irrigation. Normal saline is often less painful for the patient and is cost efficient for health care agencies and institutions.
- Debridement – debridement of dead, devitalized and/or infected tissue is essential for wound healing. Debridement can kick start a wound that has stalled in the healing process, which means faster healing- a win-win situation for both you and your client.
- Moist wound healing – in wounds where the goal of care is healing rather than maintenance, moisture facilitates wound healing. This is one of the wound moisture guidelines that has undergone a huge shift in paradigm over the past few years. Wounds should be kept moist enough that they do not dry out but not so moist that maceration becomes a problem. Many dressings that facilitate moist wound healing can be changed less often, saving money on supplies and clinician time, and are also less painful for patients. Moist wound healing encourages faster rates of epithelialization, which means faster wound healing.
- Wound insulation – it is now known that is preferable to keep the temperature of the wound bed stable (normothermic). Changing dressings too often causes loss of heat from the wound bed, and it can take several hours to return to the temperature needed for healing. Keeping the wound covered with an appropriate dressing that can stay in place longer promotes faster wound healing.
- Control of infection – Managing a wound’s bioburden is one of the most important wound management guidelines to remember. Infection delays wound healing and increases wound pain. The astute clinician is able to differentiate between contamination, colonization and infection and can quickly recognize when a wound is infected, requiring an antibiotic to decrease bioburden and get the wound back on track for healing.
These wound management guidelines decrease pain and infection while increasing healing time and comfort. If you follow these guidelines, you and your patient will both benefit.
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