In a hospice, a patient’s comfort and care are the focus of health care providers. Throughout a terminal illness, however, various types of wounds might occur and progress fast owing to the patient’s weakened immunity. In fact, one out of three patients in hospice care suffers from some kind of wound in the course of their disease’s progression. The most common types of wounds experienced by patients in a hospice include pressure ulcers, skin tears, deep tissue injuries, venous ulcers, and malignant wounds.
The goals of wound care in a hospice in Indiana are the management of symptoms and promotion of wound healing. Apart from physical affliction, wounds have also been proven to contribute to social isolation, a negative body image, and depression. Hence, effective management improves a hospice patient’s psychosocial well-being, too. In view of this, here are some of the techniques used for managing wounds in hospice patients.
Some hospice patients are unable to turn over, more so in the final stages of their illness. Though a patient might prefer a certain position, frequent repositioning is done to avert the development of pressure ulcers or the worsening of present wounds on one part of the body. The periodic repositioning will also enhance a patient’s comfort and physical and emotional well-being. This is because it promotes blood circulation in all parts of their body.
Protection of Pressure-Prone Areas
Protecting the areas at risk of wound development is essential for its prevention. This is done through the use of specialty pillows and foam supports on high-risk areas of the body, such as the knees, elbows, heels, and buttocks. These will cushion these areas and avert the pressure on them, which would decrease blood flow and weaken the skin, thus leading to the development of wounds. The specialty pillows and foam supports are also used on areas that already have wounds to promote wound healing by reducing pressure on them.
Dry and flaky skin is more susceptible to the development of cracks and tears compared to well-hydrated and moist skin. To promote adequate skin moisturization, chemical-free emollient creams are used, and the patient is kept well-hydrated through the use of intravenous and oral fluids. These steps increase the skin’s elasticity and resistance to tears.
Proper Incontinence Management
Urinary and fecal incontinence in hospice patients leads to excessive moisture, the breakdown of skin, and eventual bacterial infections. Proper toileting management for hospice patients and adequate cleaning after the passage of urine and feces go a long way in precluding skin breakdown and keeping bacterial infections at bay. This might necessitate the use of diapers for a few patients.
Wounds are among the leading cause of fast disease regression in hospice patients. The above management and preventive techniques will not only promote the patients’ comfort but also slow down their deterioration. These care techniques can be practiced under home-based or facility-based care. Most people opt for home-based hospice care since it seems cheaper. Before deciding which type of care will suffice for your loved one, get an expert’s opinion. This way, you are guaranteed that your choice will not harm them.