Some Factors to Consider When Treating Diabetic Wounds

Diabetic Wound TreatmentDiabetes can cause a number of complications, including some that make it harder for the wounds to heal. Among the wounds that occur, the most dangerous are diabetic foot wounds, which can develop into ulcers. In diabetic patients, even minor cuts can increase the chance of infection. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), by 2040 at least 642 million people will be affected with diabetes, which was 415 million in 2015.

High levels of blood glucose caused by diabetes can, over time, affect the nerves (neuropathy) and lead to poor blood circulation, making it hard for blood – needed for skin repair – to reach areas of the body affected by sores or wounds. With neuropathy, patients may not feel the pain of a cut or blister until it has grown worse or become infected.

Here are certain factors physicians should consider while treating diabetic wounds.

  • Better wound assessment - Patients with a wound need to be assessed holistically to identify intrinsic and extrinsic factors. A treatment plan will be developed based on the assessment made during consultation. Wounds should be treated immediately, before they become infected. It is critical for the assessment details to include wound location, extent (size/depth) of the wound, amount and type of exudates, the predominant tissue type on the wound surface, condition of the periwound skin, and any signs of infection. Digitally photographing wounds during the first consultation and periodically thereafter to document progress is helpful.
  • Identify the right wound type - Diabetic wounds can be neuropathic, ischemic, or neuroischemic. It is important that the nurses know the distinct features of each wound category because this is essential to identify wound progression, infection, and healing. Failure in identifying the right wound type can lead to an ineffective diabetic wound treatment plan, resulting in long-term complications or amputation.
  • Accurate documentation - Documenting the assessment details in wound clinics can be done faster with the use of a wound EMR. Reliable software features an intelligent and intuitive interface that is easy to use and allows the wound care team to collaborate and provide excellent patient care.
  • Tissue debridement - Wound care for diabetic wounds routinely includes debridement, which is the removal of dead or necrotic tissue and foreign material from and around the wound to expose healthy tissue. Debridement will –
    • Reduce pressure
    • Stimulate wound healing
    • Allow for the inspection of underlying tissue
    • Help with secretion or wound drainage
    • Optimize a wound dressing’s effectiveness
  • Moisture balance - The right choice of dressing can maintain a moist wound environment and support wound healing. Some of the common dressings that are ideal for diabetic wounds include alginates, hydrocolloids, and films. The location of the wound is also considered when choosing a dressing.