6 Causes of Nonhealing Wounds in Seniors

The skin is the largest organ of the body, tasked with keeping all the other organs safe from injury. It is no surprise to anyone who has seen their first wrinkle that as we age, our skin ages as well. While some
may fret over crow’s feet, there are far more serious issues when treating elderly skin. Thinning skin, decreased circulation, and diminished immune function leave seniors vulnerable to nonhealing wounds and skin infections.

For a discussion of everyday care for senior skin, see our blog post on thin skin.

In addition to dealing with the normal aging of their skin, seniors are more likely to have conditions that endanger the skin. Diabetes, which affects an astonishing 25% of seniors,
is associated with nonhealing foot sores, an issue so serious it is the leading cause of lower
leg amputation in the US. Hypothyroidism, another common condition in the elderly,
also leads to impairment of the skin. If a senior is bedridden, skin issues are exacerbated.

All these factors make wound care an essential part of caring for the elderly.

The following 6 issues can prevent wounds from healing, decreasing senior’s quality of life:

1. Immobility

If a senior is bedridden, or even if they are resistant to moving and remain sedentary most of the time, friction and constant pressure can cause bedsores, which are difficult to treat.

2. Poor Diet

A diet that is lacking essential nutrients, especially protein, vitamin C, and zinc, will cause wounds to heal more slowly, or even worsen.

3. Dead Skin

The dead skin that surrounds the wound, known as necrosis, can interfere with the body’s ability to heal the wound.

4. Infection

An open wound is subject to bacterial infection, at which point the immune system turns to fighting the infection rather than healing the wound.

5. Moisture

In order to heal, a wound needs a certain level of moisture. Too little or too much moisture impair healing. Proper wound care requires frequent changing and monitoring of dressings and bandages.

At Hamilton Grove Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Hamilton, NJ, we understand the seriousness of wound care for our residents, and take a multidisciplinary approach to helping our residents heal from their wounds. Our physicians have advanced training in wound management. Our nursing staff is trained in caring for chronic wounds, which includes choosing the appropriate type of dressing, changing dressings on a regular schedule, and the reporting any change in the wound to the physician in charge. Our nutritionists and dieticians assure optimal nutrition and hydration for wound healing. Our rehabilitation specialists — occupational, physical, and speech — help the patient maximize their mobility and their ability to feed themselves. Our social workers provide emotional support for the resident and their family.

Read our reviews on caring.com, wellness.com, and senioradvisor.com to hear what our residents and their families have to say about our care.

Or better yet, come see for yourself: Contact us to schedule a tour by calling 609-588-5800 or
by clicking here.

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