The seriousness of a wound and the way it is treated are without a doubt important factors of how a wound will heal. However, those alone are not the only determining factors.
Many factors – both internal and external – play major roles in the success (or lack thereof) of a wound healing as well as the time it takes for a full recovery to occur. Some factors patients have complete control over. Others may not be as easy to manage.
When preparing for wound recovery, keep some of these factors in mind as you prepare for the challenges ahead, and use them to take special consideration, manage expectations of recovery and inform the decisions you make during recovery.
As our bodies age, the path to recovery from a wound or surgery becomes more and more challenging. Weakened immune systems coupled with a slower bodily response makes wounds slower to heal for the elderly, whereas a younger person may recover from the same injury in a fraction of the time.
When preparing to care for a senior’s wound or surgery, it is important to keep this factor in mind as you plan routine and methods of care. You can learn more about the specifics of senior wound care here (link to blog).
For patients young or old, nutrition and what they choose to put in their body plays one of the most important roles in healing. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, nuts and other nutritious foods supplies the body with valuable resources like protein, calories and vitamins that promote healing and new skin growth.
Indulging in inadequate nutrition deprives the body of these resources and can delay the healing process. Patients and caregivers should make maintaining a healthy diet a top priority during wound recovery.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices made by those recovering from wounds or surgery can greatly prolong the healing process. Vices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are another way to deprive the body of the resources it needs to bounce back from a wound or surgery.
Not getting enough sleep is another way to stunt wound healing. It has been found that sleep helps promote the body’s production of essential components to healing and also promotes a strong immune system to fend off infection.
Hydration & Moisture
It is just as important to drink plenty of water as it is eating a healthy diet when recovering from a wound or surgery. Fresh water serves many roles in the healing process, including supplying the body with oxygen and nutrients that oxygenate blood, and promoting the creation of new blood vessels which help skin growth and healing.
Staying hydrated also helps keep your skin moist, another helpful healing element. Keeping skin moist prevents it from drying out or scaling. Dry skin doesn’t heal as quickly, thus prolonging the process and keeping the wound more vulnerable to infection. Drinking plenty of water and keeping the wound’s surrounding skin moist with wound care solutions like Dakin’s are two simple, daily tasks that can be done to help healing.
A person’s weight can play a significant role in the healing of wounds. Overweight individuals may experience slower healing as the body takes longer to react, but the more obese a person is the more risks compound.
Those that are classified as morbidly obese (someone who is a hundred pounds over their ideal body weight or has a BMI of 30 or more) are naturally predisposed to skin challenges such as incontinence-associated dermatitis and fungal and other sorts of skin infections which can put wounds at serious risk. Challenges stemming from immobility such as pressure ulcers also complicate matters.