Wound Treatment: An In-Depth Look

a hand wrapped in white gauze

Wound treatment is vital in the healing process. Whether you have a wound that is from recent surgery, pressure or dermal ulcer, or injury, choosing the right wound care products and supplies to treat your wound can aid in the time it takes to heal. Not only will the right wound care products help promote faster healing, but they can also help reduce the chances of infection, potential scarring, and help prevent the wound from becoming chronic. Proper wound treatment is essential for healing.

Wound Healing Process

The healing process of a wound follows a series of 4 stages and if any of the stages are interrupted, the wound may fail to properly heal. The 4 stages of normal wound healing include:

  • Hemostasis Stage – In this first phase of wound healing happens as the body tries to make the wound site stable and stop any bleeding. In order for that to happen, the blood vessels at the wound site constrict to prevent blood from draining while platelets come together to form a stable clot.icon of a gash on the shin of a leg
  • Inflammatory stage –  This defensive second stage allows the body to remove any debris at the wound site and destroy bacteria. Once the blood clot is formed, blood vessels expand to allow maximum blood flow to the wound, which is the reason a wound initially may feel warm and look red. White blood cells enter the wound site and begin to destroy bacteria and other foreign bodies. As this takes place, skin cells multiply, and the tissue repair process begins as a scab is formed.
  • Proliferative stage – During the third phase, the goal is to repair the damage that has occurred. New blood vessels begin to form as collagen, a protein fiber starts to grow and fill the wound. The growth of collagen pulls the margins of the wound inward, eventually closing the wound. This new skin at the wound site is then delivered blood by the new small blood vessels that have formed.
  • Maturation stage – The final and fourth stage of the wound healing process involves gaining strength in the new tissue as the body continues to add more collagen and refine the wound site. Depending on the wound, this final process may take months or even years. Scars tend to fade with time, which is why long term wound treatment is necessary well after the wound appears to be healed.

Factors That Slow the Wound Healing Process

  • Dead Skin Cells – It is important to keep the wound site clean to remove any dead skin cells and debris that can interfere with the wound healing process.
  • Infection – If bacteria enters the wound site, infection occurs, and the body fights the infection rather than trying to heal the wound.
  • Immobility – If a person is confined to their bed because of immobility, they are more at risk for developing bedsores (also known as pressure sores) because of reduced blood circulation. Treating these types of wounds can be more difficult since they are usually exposed to constant pressure and friction.
  • Nutrition – Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, a healthy diet is important to give the body the nutrients it needs to heal the wound, such as vitamin C and protein.
  • Medical Conditions – Diabetes, anemia, and some vascular diseases can cause poor blood flow to the wound site, therefore hindering the wound healing process.
  • Age – Since everything slows down as we age, wounds tend to take longer to heal. Thinning of the skin makes it more fragile and there is also a decreased inflammatory response in elderly people.person pouring pills from a prescription bottle into their hand
  • Medications – Certain medical conditions require specific medications. Some of the medications used in the management of some medical conditions may interfere with one of the necessary stages during the wound healing process.
  • Smoking – We know that smoking isn’t good for our overall health, but it impairs the healing process by lowering the level of oxygen in the blood, which is vital for wound healing.
  • Skin Dryness – Wounds require a moist environment in order for the skin and immune cells to do their job in the wound healing process. Wounds that are dried out and exposed to air are more at risk for infection and less likely to heal. The body can focus on healing the wound rather than protecting it when it is in a moist environment.

Wound Treatment Tips & Suggestions

Wash Your Hands

Bacteria and debris contribute to infection, so washing your hands with antibacterial soap before ever touching a wound is the first and most important step in the wound treatment process.

Cleaning Your Wound

Before applying any wound care dressing, it is important to carefully clean the site. Not only will cleaning the wound help prevent infection, but it can also speed up the complete healing process. You can follow these simple steps to properly clean a wound:SAF-Cleans AF wound treatment cleanser

  1. Rinse, wash, and remove debris  A variety of wound care cleansers are available to effectively irrigate and wash away any bacteria and debris from the wound site.
  2. Gently dry and apply an antibiotic –  Pat the wound site dry and then opt for one of these wound treatment products that will help maintain the skin’s pH balance and work to prevent infection.
  3. Apply a wound care dressing – A sterile wound care dressing keeps the wound protected and are offered in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate the most irregularly shaped wounds and their locations on the body. Choosing the right wound care dressing can also determine how well your wound heals.

Replace Wound Care Dressings

A wound that is left uncovered and exposed to the air is at greater risk of infection, which can also lead to unnecessary pain because of the dried out cells on the surface. Using a sterile bandage or gauze to cover the wound after cleaning is important, but so is replacing it frequently enough. A wound care dressing should be replaced as often as required to keep the wound leakage from seeping through the dressing.

Stay Hydrated & Eat a Healthy DietPro-Stat Sugar-free Wild Cherry Punch nutritional supplement

Hydrated skin is healthy skin and that facilitates the wound healing process. Your body heals most efficiently when it feels its best, so try to maintain a healthy diet. By incorporating foods that are high in protein and Vitamin C into your diet, you may be increasing the wound healing process. There are also nutritional supplements that can be taken as an alternate option for getting those nutrients and their added benefits.

Try a Topical Wound Treatment

MEDIHONEY wound treatment gelApplying a topical wound treatment can ease some of the pain that is often associated with wounds. A wound treatment product that contains aloe such as Cardinal Health’s Amorphous Hydrogel can help soothe your symptoms. Another great topical wound treatment is the use of honey. MEDIHONEY Products assist the healing process by lowering the pH of wounds, therefore promoting better healing.

Compression Therapy

Offered as an effective way to improve blood flow, vascular compression products are often suggested for use by a physician when referring to wound treatment options. Compression therapy can work well for those with venous ulcers to limit swelling around the wound and prevent blood clots, thus speeding up the wound healing process. a roll of compression wrap for wound treatment therapy

You should always consult with your doctor before purchasing a compression product as there are varying levels of compression that could do more harm than good.

Remember, proper wound treatment is essential for healing. You should always get your doctor’s opinion to determine what the best wound treatment plan is for your specific needs. If your wound is considerably deep or shows signs of serious infection, don’t attempt your wound treatment on your own.

You can get the wound care products and supplies delivered right to your door when you place your order with us. Even better, you can save 5% on your orders when you opt-in to our automatic delivery option. There is no commitment, and you can cancel at any time. Just choose the frequency you would like your wound care products to arrive, and we will take care of the rest.

For any questions about the wide array of wound care products we offer, we are just a phone call away. One of our Personally Delivered Product Experts will be happy to speak to you.

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Wound Care Dressings: Different Types & Uses

There are so many different types of wound care dressings available on the market today and each is made to serve a variety of purposes depending on the type of wound you are caring for. It is important to choose the right type of wound dressing because that will make an impact on the healing process of the wound. Caring for a wound, no matter if it is a minor cut or a major incision, is crucial to prevent infection or further complications. Wound dressings are designed to aid the healing process by optimizing the local wound environment. We will highlight some of the most commonly used wound care dressings here, how to use them, and if any are covered by Medicare.

Types of Wound Care Dressings

Hydrocolloid Wound Care Dressings

Hydrocolloid dressings are made of hydrophilic colloidal particles like gelatin, pectin, and cellulose. They are typically used on non-infected wounds such as burns, light to moderately draining wounds, pressure ulcers, and necrotic wounds. When hydrocolloid dressings come into contact with the surface of the wound, the fluids are absorbed by these hydrophilic particles which then turn into a gel over the wound’s surface. This provides a protected and moist healing environment so new tissue can form. Box of 2-inch by 2-inch ReliaMed Hydrocolloid Dressings

Since the hydrocolloid wound care dressing adheres to the skin, no additional tape is required either. Most of these dressings have a waterproof backing to lower the risk of bacteria entering, allowing the user to proceed with routine bathing. This dressing is also biodegradable and breathable, making it a safe choice for wound care. Be sure to take a look at the variety of hydrocolloid dressings we offer on our website.

How to Use Hydrocolloid Wound Care Dressings

  1. First, clean the wound site with a saline solution.
  2. Make sure to dry the skin around the wound with sterile gauze.
  3. Remove the paper backing and center the dressing over the wound, gently smoothing out the edges in a rolling motion.
  4. Hold the dressing in place with the palm of your hand. The warmth from your hand will transfer through the dressing to help it mold to the skin.
  5. If the hydrocolloid dressing doesn’t have its own border, frame it with tape to hold the edges down and keep them from rolling.

Hydrocolloid wound care dressings should remain in place longer than other dressings in order to leave the wound undisturbed for a longer period of time. It is usually suggested to replace the dressing every 3-7 days. Always consult your doctor as they may suggest alternative steps for your specific wound type.

Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings

Hydrogel dressings are gel-based and are a great way to add moisture to dry wound beds. Because of their high glycerin and water content, they are typically used with a secondary dressing. Hydrogels help to cool down the wound and are beneficial for second degree or higher burns, pressure ulcers, and wounds that are dry or dehydrated. By keeping the wound site moist, these dressings aid in protecting from further infection, which promotes faster healing.

Hydrogel dressings are typically offered in three different forms:

  1. Amorphous Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings: A free-flowing gel that is distributed in tubes, spray bottles, or foil packets. This is an easy option to get into the cracks and crevices of puncture and deep wounds. A secondary dressing is usually used to keep this hydrogel in place.
  2. Impregnated Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings: This gel is usually saturated into nonwoven sponge ropes/strips or onto a gauze pad. These can then be packed or laid over depending on the depth of the wound. A secondary dressing is typically used to make sure everything stays in place to protect the wound.
  3. Sheet Hydrogel Wound Care Dressing: This is a gel that is held together by a thin fiber mesh and then cut to fit the wound. This type of hydrogel dressing is great for those with sensitive skin.

How to Use Hydrogel Wound Care Dressings

  1. First, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands.
  2. Remove the dressing from its packaging if it is a sheet or impregnated type. Use scissors that have been sterilized and cut the dressing to a size that will cover the entire wound site.
  3. Gently place the dressing to cover the entire wound.
  4. For amorphous hydrogels, apply the dressing to cover the wound, making sure to fill in all the nooks and crannies of deep wounds.
  5. Use a secondary bandage or fixing tape to securely hold the dressing in place.
  6. It is recommended to change hydrogel dressings daily.

Alginate Wound Care Dressings

Alginate dressings are used for wounds that have a high amount of drainage and require more absorbency. Biodegradable fibers made from acids obtained from brown seaweed, these dressings come into contact with fluid, and gel forms to protect and aid in the healing of the wound. Sometimes calcium, silver, or honey are added to the fibers for antimicrobial protection during the healing process. Box of Aquacel AG Ribbon Alginate Wound Dressing

Alginate wound care dressings are manufactured into a range of products such as ropes, ribbons, and flat sheets. For packing cavity wounds, ropes and ribbons are used, whereas surface wounds call for flat sheets. The AQUACEL Ag Ribbon Wound Dressing, the Promogran Prisma Matrix Wound Care Dressing, and the MEDIHONEY Calcium Alginate Wound Care Dressing are a few examples of these types of wound dressings.

It is not recommended to use alginate dressings on wounds that are dry, have light to no drainage, surgical wounds, or 3rd-degree burns. This dressing will not create a gel without enough fluid, so this could end up drying out the wound site even further.

How to Use Alginate Wound Care Dressings

  1. First, clean the wound site with a saline solution and pat dry.
  2. Moisten the dressing slightly with saline before applying to make removal easier and less painful.
  3. Place the alginate dressing onto the entire wound.
  4. Use a secondary dressing to keep the dressing securely in place.
  5. Replace the alginate wound care dressing when there is visible drainage on the secondary dressing.
  6. Reduce the frequency of changes as the drainage decreases and stop using the alginate dressing when the wound bed becomes dry.

Foam Wound Care Dressings

Foam wound care dressings create the optimal warm, moist environment for wound healing. Since they do not adhere to the wound, they are a more comfortable option to turn to for wounds that have moderate to high fluid drainage. Made from semipermeable polyurethane, these dressings feature small, open cells that hold fluids and a waterproof backing to keep bacteria and other contaminants out.

Box of Aquacel Square Foam DressingsExcellent for partial or full-thickness wounds, foam dressings are also beneficial for skin grafts, pressure ulcers, gastronomy tubes, and draining peristomal wounds, just to name a few. Since foam dressings have the capability to absorb large amounts of fluid, doctors often turn to this type of dressing for absorbency and patient comfort.

The AQUACEL Foam Pro Adhesive Sacral Dressing, the Cardinal Health Essentials Foam Dressing, and the Optifoam Silicone Foam Dressing are a few of the options we carry that are effective and highly reputable.

 

How to Use Foam Wound Care Dressings

  1. Clean the wound site with a saline solution and pat dry.
  2. Apply the foam dressing so that it extends at least 1 inch beyond the edges of the wound.
  3. If the foam dressing does not have an adhesive edge, apply a secondary dressing if necessary or a tape border to hold it securely in place.
  4. Because foam dressings are so absorbent, changing them every 2-4 days is recommended. If there is high drainage, changing the dressing more frequently may be needed.

Does Medicare Cover Wound Care Supplies and Services?

Wound care supplies can get expensive. Some people cannot afford all of the dressings, tape, and bandages they need to properly care for their wounds and turn to less expensive alternatives only to aggravate their wound and end up with further infection. If you qualify for Medicare, there are some important things to consider that will decide whether your wound care supplies are covered.

Choose Your Clinician Wisely

Do some research and make sure that you find out if the clinician you choose accepts Medicare. Medicare will not pay the claim if the clinician of choice is not enrolled. If the clinician is enrolled, Medicare will cover 80% of wound care supplies that are submitted and deemed medically necessary and documented as such by your clinician. You will be responsible for the remaining 20% of the costs related to these supplies.

What Supplies Are Covered?

Medically necessary surgical dressings for your treatment are covered by Medicare. However, each type of dressing has a different required copayment, which is your responsibility. Speak to your clinician about the different associated costs so you are not caught by surprise. Dressings are covered under Medicare Part B, therefore the standard deductible applies.

What About Home Care Services?

At-home care costs are cover under Medicare Part A as long as they are deemed medically necessary. Cleaning and prepping the wound site, applying dressings to a surgical wound site, and administering certain types of medicine are some of the at-home care services that can be covered.

Personally Delivered wound care products including DueDerm gel, gauze sponges, and saline solution

We have just scraped the surface as to all the available types of wound care dressings on the market. Protecting your wounds, no matter what size or shape, is an important part of the wound healing process. Always consult with your doctor if your wound is getting worse or further irritated. They may suggest an alternate solution or treatment method for you to try.

If you have any questions about the wide variety of alginate, foam, hydrogel, or hydrocolloid dressings we carry, our Personally Delivered Product Experts are just a phone call away.

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