The primary function of wound care dressings is to improve the speed and quality of healing wounds, such as pressure injuries, skin tears, avulsions, abrasions, bruises and burns. Other important functions include reducing pain and suffering, decreasing the anxiety of both patient and caregiver and maintaining or improving the quality of peripheral skin. A breathable, water-permeable dressing would meet each of these objectives and be a significant advance in the field of wound care.
Here is a look at five major problems for elderly wound care — and how one new approach to wound care can show the way forward.
Too many wound care dressing changes
The standard of care in wound dressings is to change them at least every other day, sometimes even every day. For elderly patients with fragile skin, the frequent removal of wound dressing can lead to abrasions, bruising and skin tears of the peripheral skin. This repeated traumatization of the skin can nullify any benefit of the dressing itself.
The patent-pending Miracle Dressing Wound Care System (MDS) — invented by Dr. Eric Lewis, founder of MBET Health (Marine Biology & Environmental Technologies) — is a recently launched transformative 21-day dressing, which negates the problems caused by daily or semi-daily wound changes to atrophying skin.
The dressing is a uniquely designed covering that is applied directly to the wound with a special adhesive (known as an agglutinant) which contains natural marine extract crystals. After 21 days, the dressing falls off on its own after much or all of the healing has occurred.
Bandages that can’t get wet
With most wound dressings, water interferes with the healing process, as the combination of moisture and non-adherent dressings usually cause maceration, as well as occasional dehiscence. The opposite is true for MDS, where water is a key component in the healing process.
That’s because one of the dressing’s innovations is a series of specially designed perforations that pull blood and exudate away from the wound, minimizing the risk of infection. Simple caregiving acts become a source of healing, such as rinsing the top of the dressing with a wet gauze, or the patient taking a shower or bath. This breathable, water-immersible 21-day dressing not only saves nursing time and stress, but improves the speed and quality of wound and peripheral skin healing.
The high cost of traditional wound treatment
Traditional dressings are costly. Maintenance, medical supplies, proper disposal, nursing resources and prolonged healing time are all factors. Managing costs is always important for a skilled nursing facility (SNF), but is particularly vital during the pandemic, when more than half of SNFs are operating at a loss.
“SNFs must legally dispose of the contaminated dressings in an environmentally safe way — they can’t just throw them away,” Lewis says. “It is bio-waste, which is costly to get rid of. So the problem is the large number of dressings that have to be applied over a 21-day period, and the cost of disposal of the removed dressings every time you change them.”
The extensive time spent on wound care
Going hand-in-hand with the high cost of new dressings is the time commitment of changing them. “Removing the dressing, cleaning the wound and re-dressing the wound can take up to 20 minutes,” Lewis says.
A dressing that can be changed every 21-28 days — rather than the typical 1-2 days — drastically reduces not only the nursing time but also the patient pain, as well as nurse and patient stress.
“Every time you wipe the MDS with water, you are actually cleaning the wound through those specially designed pores,” Lewis says. “And dissolving the marine extract crystals makes the wound and surrounding skin healthier.”
Bad optics for the adult children
Excessive changes to a wound dressing are painful to the patient, and a SNF’s bottom line. But there is another stakeholder to consider: the patient’s adult children, who hear directly from their parents about the very real pain and suffering during wound care.
“We’ve had a number of patients whose main complaint in these SNFs is, ‘They’re torturing me every time they change the dressing,’ and that goes right to the family,” Lewis says.
The thin, vulnerable skin of elderly patients easily suffers bruising and skin tears caused by the repeated dressing changes, even those that are properly executed. These added wounds are disturbing to family members, who in turn often blame the nursing staff.
As the pandemic continues, and a new normal of health crises and budgetary concerns formulate, the need for SNF operators to employ cost-effective, healthy solutions for wound care will continue to grow.
November 19, 2020, is World Wide Pressure Injury Prevention Day. To learn more about how Miracle Dressing Wound Care System can help prevent pressure injuries, visit MBETHealth.com.