Have you ever wondered how important wound care is for our seniors? As the population ages, it becomes increasingly important to preserve mobility and independence. How effective is wound care in promoting senior independence? 

About 6.7 million seniors in the United States suffer from chronic wounds. Untreated wounds in seniors can lead to severe complications, affecting not only their physical health but also their emotional well-being. Studies show that seniors with untreated wounds are more likely to experience a decline in mobility, leading to increased dependency.

So, what does this mean for seniors, and how can prioritizing wound care significantly promote senior independence? At Freedom Health & Wellness, we want to inform our patients why wound care is important to seniors. Read on to learn more.

The Importance of Wound Care and Senior Independence

Effective wound care is not just about alleviating physical discomfort; seniors cherish their independence, which is important to their well-being. More than 90% of elderly people want to continue living independently in their own homes as they age. 

However, maintaining this independence becomes difficult when wounds are involved. Untreated wounds can lead to infections, tissue damage, even amputations, and increased dependency.

Common Types of Wounds in Seniors

Senior citizens may experience various types of wounds, often associated with aging, chronic health conditions, and reduced mobility. Common types of wounds in senior citizens include:

  • Pressure Ulcers (Bedsores): Pressure ulcers, often linked to extended periods of immobility, affect approximately 15% of seniors. These wounds result from prolonged pressure on the skin, often due to immobility. They commonly occur in areas where bones are close to the skin surface, such as the heels, hips, and tailbone.
  • Diabetic Foot Ulcers: Seniors with diabetes may develop foot ulcers due to reduced blood circulation and nerve damage. These ulcers can be slow to heal and are prone to infection. Diabetic foot ulcers, a prevalent issue among older adults with diabetes, contribute to 20% of non-traumatic amputations.
  • Venous Leg Ulcers: Venous leg ulcers, often associated with poor circulation, affect around one to three percent of the senior population. Poor circulation, often associated with venous insufficiency, can lead to leg ulcers. Venous leg ulcers typically occur around the ankles and lower legs.
  • Traumatic Wounds: Accidental injuries, such as cuts, abrasions, or burns, can occur in senior citizens, especially if they have compromised vision, reduced balance, or other age-related issues.
  • Surgical Wounds: Seniors may undergo surgical procedures for various health reasons, leading to incisions that require proper care and attention to prevent infections.
  • Friction or Shear Wounds: These wounds result from the rubbing or dragging the skin against a surface, often seen in seniors with limited mobility or those using mobility aids.
  • Skin Tears: Due to fragile skin, seniors may experience skin tears and injuries where the outer layers of the skin separate from the underlying tissues.

Regular monitoring, timely treatment, and preventive measures are important in promoting optimal wound healing in this population.

Impact of Wounds on Senior Independence

Wounds can limit mobility and physical activity in seniors. The inability to move freely can result in a decline in overall health, leading to a loss of independence. As wounds progress, seniors may become increasingly dependent on others for their daily activities.

Psychological Impact of Wound-Related Dependency

Dependency due to wound complications doesn’t just manifest physically; it takes a toll on mental health. Seniors may experience feelings of frustration, anxiety, and depression, affecting their overall quality of life. Studies indicate a direct correlation between wound severity and psychological distress in seniors. Treating the psychological effects for overall well-being is as important as treating the physical injuries.

Effective Wound Management Strategies and Preventive Measures

Effective wound management strategies and preventive measures are crucial for promoting optimal healing and preventing complications, especially in senior citizens. Here are some key approaches:

Timely Wound Assessment

  • Regularly monitor wounds for signs of infection or changes.
  • Seek prompt medical attention for any concerning developments.

Proper Wound Cleaning

  • Clean wounds with mild soap and water as recommended.
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for safe and effective cleaning.

Moist Wound Healing

  • Use appropriate dressings and ointments to maintain a moist wound environment.
  • Tailor dressing choices are based on the type and severity of the wound.

Offloading Pressure

  • Reposition seniors regularly to relieve pressure on vulnerable areas.
  • Employ specialized cushions or mattresses to redistribute pressure.

Proper Nutrition

  • Ensure seniors maintain a balanced diet of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Adequate nutrition supports the body’s healing processes and overall well-being.

Mobility and Exercise

  • Encouraging seniors to engage in gentle exercises promotes circulation and overall health. Maintaining mobility helps prevent wounds related to friction or shear and contributes to better wound healing.

By combining these strategies, seniors can significantly reduce the risk of developing wounds, enhance their overall well-being, and maintain a higher level of independence. 

Higher Level of Independence with Outpatient Wound Care Services

Freedom Health & Wellness greatly aids seniors’ path to independence. Our outpatient wound care services provide tailored, professional assistance, ensuring more care and independence for our elderly patients. Don’t just take our word for it; hear from seniors who have reclaimed their lives through our services.

Testimonials from Our Seniors

My husband has familial paraplegia, a rare illness that causes paralysis later in life. My husband, a New York City policeman, was afflicted soon after retirement. When Dr. Schnell took over my husband’s wound care in the hospital, he had (3) stage 4 pressure ulcers. I could stick my entire fist in one of his wounds; it was so big. I was shocked when a doctor agreed to see my husband at home. Dr. Schnell coming to our home was a big deal for us. I remember the peace I felt when he said he would stick with us until my husband was healed. Dr. Schnell and nurse Nikki are the most caring providers I have ever met. I don’t know what we would have done without them.

I am a 53-year-old quadriplegic from a car accident in my late 30’s. In 2015, I returned home from the hospital, and my primary physician refused to continue to see me for insurance purposes. I live in a rural area and have no transportation. There is no public transport in my area for wheelchair-bound patients. With no physician to care for me and write orders for home health and a state-sponsored caretaker, I was told I would have to give up living independently to move into a nursing home. Dr. Schnell has healed multiple wounds on me since then and helped me with multiple acute medical issues,, even though our agreement is for wound care only. Dr. Schnell has helped purchase critical non-covered medical supplies, including protein supplements for wound healing. In this sense, I consider him a friend, and I am deeply grateful that he has allowed me to continue to live independently.
Read More

What are the Next Steps?

Effective wound care is not merely about treating physical wounds; it’s about preserving the independence and well-being of our seniors. Seniors deserve a life of mobility, dignity, and joy, and proper wound care is an important component in achieving this.

At Freedom Health and Wellness, we’ve witnessed numerous success stories where effective wound care has been instrumental in restoring and maintaining senior independence. Are you ready to take the first step towards a more independent future? Schedule an appointment with Freedom Health and Wellness today.

Make an Appointment

Our Services

Home Care

Transitional Care

Group Care