Wounds can be broadly categorised as acute (a traumatic or surgical wound which heal in an expected time frame) or chronic (which are slow or fail to heal at have been present for >6 weeks).
Within these categories there are many types of wounds including:
• Pressure ulcers
• Venous ulcers
• Arterial ulcers
• Diabetic ulcers
• Skin tears
Factors that adversely affect wound healing include the age and state of health of the person, some medications and drug therapies, poor nutrition, obesity, reduced blood supply, stress, anxiety and depression.
Factors that can assist wound healing include good wound management practice including using appropriate wound care products for particular wound types, appropriate hydration of the wound and temperature of the wound.
Minimising pressure, frictions and shearing forces on the wound, removal of foreign bodies and monitoring for adverse signs of infection can also speed up the wound healing process. Nutritional supplements can assist in wound healing, discuss this with your healthcare professional.
Your healthcare professional should be able to advise on the appropriate dressing for your wound and on how to care for your wound properly.
Many dressings today are designed to stay on for more than 24 hours, these dressings have multiple healing actions as the wound heals. The characteristics and needs of your wound/skin may change during the healing process, and often several different types of dressings may be prescribed to meet those needs.
Your health care professional will work with you to ascertain the frequency of dressing change required for your wound/skin. Excessively changing these dressings may slow down the healing process and cause you unnecessary expense.
The dressings will provide an environment and address specific wound needs, yet it is your body that will heal the wound – so take care of yourself and always seek professional advice when using modern dressings.