Wound Care for the Ages: Educating Older Adults on Wound Care

The United States has an increasing aging population with the number of Americans aged 65+ projected to reach 94.7 million by 2060 – a 36% increase since 2019.

Because of this, the CHI St. Vincent Wound Care Center is taking the time this August to educate older adults on the importance of wound care for the ages. Older adults are more likely to develop chronic wounds.

As we age, the healing process slows, and there is a decrease in immune response and cell growth. Our skin becomes thin and more delicate, susceptible to cuts, scrapes and sores that are harder to heal.
In addition to these normal, biological functions, older adults are also at an increased risk of
having conditions and limitations that amplify the effects of already delayed healing, like
immobility and inactivity, diabetes and poor circulation.

“Properly caring for wounds is important no matter your age,” explains George Nawar, M.D. “However, wound care is especially essential for older adults.”

While older adults can heal, the body’s capacity to repair the skin on its own is often diminished,
but specialized care from a wound center can help support the healing process.

Our approach may include:

  • Diagnostic testing
  • Nutritional evaluation
  • Infection control
  • Specialized dressings
  • Pressure-relieving devices
  • Debridement
  • Ongoing patient education

An often-overlooked component of wound healing is the psychological impact chronic wounds have on
patients. This can be due to many factors that contribute to stress, sleep disruption, social isolation and
depression in patients with wounds.

However, for older adults, these impacts have greater affect. Not only does this affect their mental health, but research shows that these stressors can have a substantial and clinically relevant impact on wound repair and directly influence their wound healing processes.

For all patients with non-healing wounds, it is important to manage these psychological impacts in order to optimize healing:

  • Maintain strong relationships with family, friends and peers to combat loneliness, stress, anxiety
    and depression. Developing relationships with nurses and other healthcare providers can also
    provide support.
  • Keep a positive mindset. Replacing discouraging, negative thoughts and maintaining focus and
    passion can help throughout your wound healing journey.
    Use controlled breathing exercises or meditate. These techniques can help you gain a new
    perspective on stressful situations, focus on the present and reduce negative emotions.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet can help keep the immune system healthy and strong, which
    improves wound healing.
  • Seek prompt, proper care. Specialized wound care services address the physical complications
    that lead to psychological impacts. In addition, a wound center like CHI St. Vincent Hospital
    Wound Care Center can offer a comprehensive approach to healing, coordinating traditional and
    advanced therapies that aid and accelerate the healing process.

CHI St. Vincent has wound care centers in Little Rock, Hot Springs and Morrilton. For more information or to schedule an appointment, click here.