With COVID-19 restrictions still in place across much of the country, we are seeing an alarming pattern emerge with many individuals choosing to forgo their regular medical appointments or check-ups. Reasons for cancelling or postponing appointments appear to vary, from attempts to limit movements, to fear of infection and in some cases, avoid adding further burden to overworked healthcare professionals during a global pandemic.
The State and Federal Governments have carefully pivoted resources and implemented response teams to deal with the pandemic and a lot of consideration has gone into making sure our healthcare system is still open for business for everyday Australians to seek the treatment they need.
Seek the treatment you need
Seeking medical attention is now even more important than ever and for many older Australians, this includes the need for regular wound care.
At Programmed Care, we continue to support our most vulnerable communities and while some services and education can be provided via telehealth, a regular visit from a healthcare professional can aid in easing discomfort and allow a wound to heal quicker.
Our Business Manager, Daniel Turbill, has over 10 years’ experience as a Registered Nurse in intensive care, surgical, paediatrics and more recently community care. Having witnessed countless patients suffer serious health conditions as a result of leaving wounds untreated, Daniel cannot stress enough, the importance of receiving appropriate wound care.
“Even with the restrictions imposed on our communities at the moment, there are still options for those in need of treatment. Wounds left untreated can lead to more severe health conditions. Programmed Care clinicians are trained to treat wounds and establish a suitable care routine to ensure wounds are cleaned and dressed properly to reduce the risk of infection and further deterioration. For the majority of cases, we are still providing face-to-face services, however, if clinically appropriate, we can also offer telehealth appointments where clients are apprehensive about a clinician entering their home.”
Good nutrition helps the body to heal
Nutrition can often be overlooked when you think about wound care. When the body sustains physical trauma, additional protein and calories are required to provide it with the energy it needs to regenerate and produce new tissue. If the body is not getting the nutrients it needs during the healing process, it can go into a state of malnutrition.
The following nutrients are essential for wound healing, particularly for elderly patients:
- Protein is essential for the maintenance and repair of body tissue. Insufficient protein will slow the wound healing process. Great sources of protein include red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy products, tofu, lentils and legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Energy requirements increase depending on the size and complexity of the wound. The body’s preferred energy sources are carbohydrates and fats. Carbohydrate rich foods include wholegrain breads and cereal, pasta, rice, potato and biscuits. Good sources of fats include meat, milk, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt, oils and margarine.
- Zinc plays a key role in tissue growth and healing, and can be found in red meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk products
- Iron is an important dietary mineral that provides oxygen to the site of the wound to assist with healing. To get more iron into your diet, try red meat, fish, eggs, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and yeast extracts, such as Vegemite.
- Vitamin C is vital for forming new blood vessels, immune health and absorption of iron. Fruit and vegetables, particularly oranges, tomatoes and leafy vegetables are all excellent sources of vitamin C.
- Staying hydrated helps to maintain the elasticity of the skin and promotes blood flow, oxygen and other nutrients to the wound. Fluid consumption is encouraged with all meals and snacks.
While good wound care is the most important aspect of caring for skin trauma, there are a range of factors that will be beneficial, and others that will hinder the ability to heal.
Ways to help wounds heal quicker
- Eat a nutritious diet, consisting of proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin C
- Drink 6-8 glasses of fluid every day
- Wear loose, breathable clothing
- Pat skin dry, do not rub the area
- Use absorbent, disposable incontinence products if needed
- Barrier creams and films can prevent damage to skin
- Change position frequently
Avoid or limit use of irritants
- Do not use products that irritate the skin, such as perfumed lotions
- Avoid soap, instead try soap-free cleansers
- Try not to wash excessively – water dries the skin
- Do not rub the skin over bony areas
- Abstain from using tapes or adhesives on the skin
If you or a loved one is in need of care, contact the Programmed Care team today on:
Tel: 13 10 95
Or visit programmed.com.au/care