Advanced Wound Care Buying Guide
Advanced wound care requires a thorough and evidence-based approach to healing. Clinicians often face the question of how to choose advanced wound care products. This buying guide deconstructs the DIME approach to wound care and focuses on the various supplies that healthcare workers need to treat complex wounds.
What is Advanced Wound Care?
Advanced wound care refers to the treatment and management of severe or chronic wounds that are susceptible to infections and complications such as amputation. Deep tears, bleeding under the skin, infected cuts, and chronic wounds are examples of advanced wounds that require specialty wound care products.
Advanced wound care works on the principle that keeping the wound sufficiently moist promotes faster healing. Along with supplying adequate moisture to the afflicted area, advanced wound products:
- Boost oxygen flow
- Ease pain while changing dressings
- Prevent the onset of infections
- Maintain consistent temperature around the wound
The DIME method is an evidence-based approach to wound healing that provides an effective framework for medical workers to address complicated wounds. Besides diagnostic equipment, wound care supplies are essential components of a clinician's kit. For physicians considering how to choose advanced wound care products, it's best to follow the DIME method to ensure efficient wound care. The DIME approach uses different phases of wound treatment that require varied products such as bandages, dressings gauzes, hydrogels, fiber dressings, and hydrocolloid dressings. Here are the different steps in the DIME method that help healthcare staff provide excellent patient care to ease suffering and pain caused by chronic wounds.
To help wounds heal naturally, it's important to remove necrotic tissue such as eschar and slough that can impede the healing process and promote bacterial infections. Debridement gets rid of unhealthy tissue that is incapable of normal cellular activities or that harbors bacterial populations, reducing the chances of secondary infections. Moist dressing solutions like honey sheet dressings, alginate dressings, and wet gauze dressings are ideal for this stage of the DIME treatment plan.
Chronic and deep wounds are especially vulnerable to bacteria, which increases bio-burden, leading to tissue or skin damage that may eventually result in an infection. Bacterial colonization aggravates inflammation and delays the healing process. Hopkins Medical Products® features a vast collection of Mölnlycke® dressings with rapid antimicrobial action for greater protection against a broad spectrum of bacteria.
Achieving the correct moisture balance is key to fast and effective wound healing. Excess moisture can cause laceration around the tissue surrounding the wound, causing skin breakdown. Not enough moisture halts cellular mechanisms and forms eschar, which impedes wound healing. Hopkins Medical Products stocks moisture-promoting foam and fiber dressings that help maintain optimal moisture balance around the site of trauma.
Once clinicians tackle the early stages of wound healing and take appropriate steps for wound bed preparation, careful monitoring of the wound edges is next. Wound edges show the progress of the healing process — a non-healing wound may display a cliff-like edge. If physicians notice that the wound edge isn't moving after the initial stages of intervention, they must consider advanced therapeutics. However, healthcare workers must investigate the causes and factors impeding the healing process to rule out underlying conditions. Collagen-based wound dressings are an advanced modality since they encourage the growth of new tissue, promoting quicker recovery.
Top Factors to Consider When Choosing Advanced Wound Care Products
Selecting a wound dressing from a broad portfolio of the product line can seem overwhelming for clinicians. Below are some key points to keep in mind when determining which product works best for a patient:
- Wound condition, including the type of the cut, cause, condition of the surrounding tissue, wound size and depth, location of the wound, and risk or prevalence of infection
- Overall patient health, considering factors like chronic or underlying health issues, lifestyle and eating habits, comfort, and preferences
Before narrowing down on a particular dressing for the patient, healthcare workers must address the following questions:
- Is the product suited for the type of wound and the condition of the injury site?
- Does the gauze protect against secondary infection?
- Is the dressing easy to remove without causing additional trauma to the affected area?
- Does the dressing offer an optimally moist environment for faster wound healing?
Being familiar with the various dressings, bandages and skin closures, and tape helps healthcare staff decide the best product that addresses the custom needs of the patient.
Advanced Wound Care Products
This guide discusses four primary product categories for advanced wound care. Each of these supplies features special characteristics to allow rapid wound healing.
A common side effect during the wound debridement phase is the discharge of cells or fluid that happens because of inflammation. Alginates are effective at absorbing this inflammatory matter, soaking up to 20 times their own weight. They're non-adhesive, so they don't stick to the wound and are easy to remove during dressing changes. Another top benefit of alginates is that they help maintain a moist environment that encourages healing and tissue re-growth.
Often used as primary or secondary dressings, foams are available in bordered or non-bordered forms, layers, and strips. They may feature silver, honey, or silicone to aid the healing process. Foams absorb large amounts of secretion. Foams form a critical component of a physician's patient care kit for several reasons. These include:
- Non-stick formula doesn't adhere to the wound
- Serves as padding to protect the affected area from blows or injury
- Keeps bacterial growth in check
- Easy to apply and remove
Glycerin- or water-based hydrogels keep dry wounds moist while barring infection-causing agents. They feature a high water content, which soothes inflammation to relieve pain and discomfort. Hydrogel enables painless debridement of necrotic tissue and encourages granulation for complete healing.
Commonly used as a secondary dressing, hydrocolloid products offer ample hydration to activate the body's enzymes to jump start the healing process. These dressings contain gel-forming ingredients inside a thin gauze or strip and are easy to apply. Available in a variety of shapes and thicknesses, these supplies are specially formulated to apply on difficult-to-address areas like elbows and knees. Ideal for granular or necrotic wounds, hydrocolloid dressings protect newly healed skin. Here are the benefits of using hydrocolloid dressings for advanced wound care:
- Don't stick to wound, preventing further trauma
- Are pliable enough to fit different body parts
- Limit the chances of bacterial infections
- Last longer than most other dressings, so there's no need for frequent dressing changes
Hopkins Medical Products carries a wide range of nursing supplies, wound care products, blood pressure monitoring equipment, and other medical goods to help healthcare workers deliver top-quality patient treatment and care.