Proper Wound Care Management Important Amidst Ebola Threat

A question that arises in the minds of many against the backdrop of the Ebola threat is whether the virus can spread through an open wound. Technically it is possible, as per CDC advice. Ebola can spread through direct contact with an infected person’s (alive or dead) body fluids such as saliva, blood, vomit, mucus, urine or feces. If these body fluids have touched someone’s eyes, nose or mouth or an open cut, wound or abrasion, Ebola can be transmitted to that person.Ebola Threat

In short, the virus can spread through wounds a patient or caregiver may have. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the isolation of patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola in a single room and advises staffs to wear gowns, gloves, surgical mask and goggles. Hazmat suits and respirators will surely reduce provider-patient contacts. However, wounds present on the patient’s body as well as any present on the caregiver’s body must be properly covered with the right type of wound dressing to protect the wounds and thereby avoid a situation that will invite the disease.

Wound Dressings – An Important Part of Wound Care Management

The common types of wound dressings available now are hydrocolloid, hydrogel, alginate, hydrofiber, antimicrobial and silver dressings. Each of these dressings has its own indication of wounds. For example, hydrocolloid dressing is for Stages I through IV pressure ulcers, dermal ulcers, partial and full-thickness wounds and necrotic wounds while silver dressing is for infected or highly colonized wounds. Thus, it is very important to understand the wound type and its nature to determine the correct type of wound dressing. The right type can ensure adequate protection and help the wounds heal faster. For example, silver dressings are contraindicated for Stage I pressure ulcers, third-degree burns, and non-exudating wounds. With an accurate and complete wound assessment report, clinicians can determine the type of wound and its nature to decide whether silver dressing will help in healing that wound faster.

A secondary dressing is required for alginate, hydrofiber, antimicrobial, silver and hydrogel dressings to keep them in place. Some hydrocolloid dressings may adhere to the wound or prove too difficult to remove. Even though the damp environment provided by hydrogels is good for healing, wounds won’t get proper air circulation. To overcome these disadvantages and change wound dressings appropriately, tracking of wound progression under dressing is essential. Comprehensive documentation that provides clear answers to the following questions is very important for that.

  • Is the dressing intact?
  • Is there drainage on the outside of the dressing material?
  • Is there any odor from the wound?
  • Is the wound/area surrounding the wound or dressing, red, hot or swollen?

With this, clinicians can determine whether the wound is healing and whether any dressing changes are required.

This brings us to another important consideration, namely wound documentation.

Importance of Wound Documentation

Benefits of Wound EMR

  • General EMR system comes with all types of features and functionalities regardless of whether the clinician needs it or not. Such kind of EMR will distract the user’s attention and interrupt the workflow. With wound EMR developed specially for documenting wound care management, physicians can easily access the necessary information. Using wound EMR integrated to smart devices, physicians can access the necessary information at the patient’s bedside itself.
  • Customized templates help nurses to enter the details of wound progression under dressing very easily by clicking on the appropriate fields. Physicians can also update these fields to make appropriate modifications.
  • A reliable wound EMR system automatically generates the patient’s history and physical, orders, prescriptions, and any other materials that the physician has selected, which can be shared immediately with wound care specialists if necessary.