Chronic wounds affect over 6.5 million individuals in the United States, but there are many misconceptions and myths about treating and identifying these wounds that prevent clinicians from providing the best possible care. Not to mention, wounds are associated with significant physical and emotional costs to the patient along with significant financial and reputational costs to your organization.
Debunk some of the most common myths about wound care, and learn more about best practice wound care from Relias.
1) Wounds need to “breathe.” – FALSE
The advice to give wounds air and let them “breathe” comes from a variety of misconceptions, but modern evidence tells us quite the contrary when it comes to treating modern wounds.
The most optimal environment for healing chronic wounds is moist and warm – there are many consequences to leaving wounds uncovered.
As little as a 2°C drop in temperature can delay wound healing, and it could take up to 4 hours for an exposed wound to return to a normal healing temperature.
Best practice recommends dressings that insulate the wound and support moist healing, which will lead to faster healing times and reduced rates of infection.
Though some physicians often order wet-to-dry dressings for patients, wound care experts have found that it is not only a substandard care option, but also more expensive.
The daily cost of a wet-to-dry dressing is $12.26, while the cost for a foam dressing is only $3.55.
Wet-to-dry dressings require more frequent changes, and each change that exposes the wound risks a drop in temperature and loss of moisture, which can delay healing.
When it comes to best practice, foam dressings not only reduce physical risks to patient healing but also reduce financial and labor burden for your staff.
Unfortunately, bleeding at the site of a chronic wound usually means that there is a problem.
Bloody exudate is usually a warning to the clinician to identify issues such as:
- Malignancy or trauma on the site
- Dressing that is sticking to the wound and causing bleeding upon removal
- High bioburden
The bleeding of a chronic wound is not a normal part of the healing process, and it requires identification of a potential issue at the site.
4) Patients with obesity cannot become malnourished when incorporating nutrition into wound care. – FALSE
Significant weight loss in an overweight or obese person with chronic wounds may be interpreted by some clinicians as beneficial, but it tends to be more complex than that.
A person with obesity can develop skin breakdown because of insufficient nutrition and can also experience a further decline in physical function.
Implementing proper nutrition into wound care can be extremely effective, but it must be done with mind to preventing malnutrition and excessive weight loss.
5) All clinicians receive sufficient training on wound care in school. – FALSE
Unfortunately, many clinicians do not receive adequate training to effectively identify, assess, and treat chronic wounds in their patients.
In fact, a recent survey found that 70% of nurses considered their basic wound care education to be insufficient.
With so many nurses, physicians, and additional clinicians not receiving adequate training on wound care, it is up to you and your organization to provide education that will save you money and save your patients from preventable pain and suffering.