What Causes Poor Wound Healing?

Wound HealingWound care management aims at healing the wound in the shortest time possible, with minimal pain, discomfort, and scarring to the patient. Some wounds heal easily while others can take longer. Poor wound healing may be because of the severity of the wounds or the poor state of health of the individual.

All wounds heal in three stages such as – inflammatory stage during the first few days, where the wounded area attempts to restore normal state by constricting blood vessels to control bleeding, proliferative stage that lasts about 3 weeks, where granulation occurs that makes collagen to fill in the wound and finally maturation and remodeling stage that lasts up to 2 years, which forms new collagen, changing the shape of the wound and increasing strength of tissue in the area.

Bite wounds are especially likely to be heavily contaminated. Wound infection is one of the most common reasons for delayed wound healing.  Signs of infection include red skin around the wound, discharge containing pus, swelling, warmth, foul odor, and fever.

Factors Affecting Wound Healing

Health conditions that can delay the healing of wounds include diabetes mellitus, obesity, low HGH (human growth hormone), rheumatoid arthritis, vascular or arterial diseases and zinc deficiency. Other factors are-

  • Abnormal bacterial presence
  • Smoking
  • Improper oxygen level
  • Inflammation
  • Necrosis
  • Pressure
  • Trauma

Some medications that interfere with the body’s ability to form blood clots can also slow the healing process. For instance, steroids cause the wound to heal without proper formation of granulation tissue. This can worsen scarring.

Certain treatment methods for very serious wounds include Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Ultrasound treatment, Electrical Stimulation and Magnetic therapy.

The Role of Accurate Documentation

For successful wound healing, the clinician must strictly follow every step of wound management, including assessment, planning, implementation, evaluation and documentation. Documentation of a wound in the patient’s clinical record/wound should include the type, size and location of wound, condition of wound bed, surrounding skin and wound edges, current dressing regime and the progress of the wound healing according to the resident and/or care taker. Accurate reports would help to track the progress or lack of progress in healing and to apply important therapeutic options.

Wound care EMR is an ideal option to document all types of wounds. Physicians can instantly record their notes into the system. This HIPAA-compliant software is an easy way to monitor, review and report wound treatments over time, providing the highest level of care while working towards positive healing outcomes.

Certain Tips to Prevent Wound Infection

Appropriate management of injuries is important to reduce the likelihood of wound infections.

  • Choose a dressing that maintains a moist environment/ moisture balance
  • Dirt particles and other foreign matters should be removed from the wound
  • Use surgical techniques to cut away damaged and dead tissue
  • Antimicrobial therapy (most commonly antibiotics) is recommended for contaminated/ penetrated wounds
  • Sterile materials should be used for wound dressing

Patients and their caretakers should make sure to clean their hands when caring for the wound at home.