Chronic wounds are wounds that will not heal on their own. Most wounds will heal within two to three months, but when a wound still hasn’t healed after this period, it is considered chronic. Although anyone can experience a chronic wound, they are most common in the elderly.
If your loved one has a chronic wound, the importance of taking proper care cannot be stressed enough. Chronic wounds should be treated by a doctor or other medical professional to determine which is the best and most effective treatment or dressing depending on what sort of wound exists. Your elderly loved one may need assistance dressing the wound at home. Understanding the types of wound dressings available as well as how to choose the right one can help you provide the best care.
Types of Wound Dressings & When to Use Them
1. Gauze Sponge
Used for all wounds.
Made from 100% cotton, gauze sponges absorb drainage such as blood or other fluids making them a good, all-purpose wound dressing whether you need to clean, dress, pack, or prep a wound. This option is also economical.
2. Gauze Bandage Roll
Used for all wounds.
Gauze bandage rolls are made from 100% cotton and can be used as a first layer dressing or as an added layer of protection. This type of wound dressing is perfect for wounds on limbs or on the head, as well as wounds that are difficult to dress.
3. Non-Adherent Pads
Used for wounds with light to moderate drainage; works well for acute wounds and skin tears.
This type of wound dressing protects wounds without sticking to the wound itself. It’s an easy, all-in-one dressing that can be placed over any minimally draining wound.
4. Non-Adherent Wet Dressings
Used for wounds with light to moderate drainage; works well with burns.
These dressings are ideal as a primary layer to keep the wound bed moist, which helps to promote cell migration. Non-adherent wet dressings conform to the wound without sticking to the surface.
5. Foam Dressings
Used for wounds with moderate to heavy discharge; works well with pressure injuries.
Foam dressings are ultra-soft and highly absorbent thanks to the foam material they are comprised of. This type of wound dressing helps to cushion and protect the wound while maintaining a healthy level of moisture.
6. Calcium Alginates
Used for wounds with moderate to heavy discharge; works well for arterial ulcers.
This type of wound dressing is highly absorbent and can hold as much as 20 times its weight in moisture. It is especially useful in wicking moisture out of deep tunneling areas of a wound.
7. Hydrogel Dressings
Used for wounds that are dry or mostly dry; any wound with dead tissue.
Hydrogel dressings lend moisture to a wound which can help break down dry and dead tissue. Keeping the wound moisturized helps to promote cell growth.
8. Transparent Dressings
Use for securement layer.
Transparent dressings allow the transfer of moisture while offering a great securement layer as well as visualization of the wound. This is a great option for covering an IV.
9. Alcohol Preps
Use for prepping, not for dressing the actual wound.
Alcohol preps aren’t a type of wound dressing but are necessary when preparing to dress a wound.
How to Choose the Right Wound Dressing
When it comes to wound dressings, there are numerous types available. Learning the types of wound dressings is the first step to knowing which is right to use. Once you’re aware of the different types of wound dressings, the next thing to do is assess the wound and ask yourself these questions:
What type of wound is it?
What does the surrounding tissue look like?
What do the edges of the wound look like?
How much, if any, drainage is there?
This assessment will help you determine which stage of the healing process the wound is in as well as which wound dressing will promote the most rejuvenation. Select a dressing that promotes an environment that is neither too wet nor too dry. The wound bed will need to be able to move through the healing cycle in order to recover quickly without becoming infected.
It’s important to note that the right wound dressing will allow the wound to stay covered for longer periods. This is important because studies show that when wounds are dressed twice daily, there is an increase in infection rate.
Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Care Services
Caring for your elderly loved one can be a challenge, especially if they have a chronic wound. While providing them with the best care is your priority, doing so can be hard when you have to juggle your career and family at the same time. That’s where Care Options for Kids can help. We provide custom care plans which include wound care and dressing changes.