When it comes to the many duties that an RACF must perform, the prevention and management of wounds and injuries is near the top of the list. This helps to keep residents healthy, mobile and independent. Remaining in good physical condition and free from pain can also have substantial positive impacts on a resident's mental health, wellbeing and overall quality of life.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the number of falls requiring hospitalisation is twice as high amongst Australians over 65 than in any other age bracket. Many of these falls result in acute wounds, or skin tears, and without proper treatment an elderly person's condition can quickly worsen, due to the increased time that it takes to heal as we grow older.
Wounds in RACFs
As the human body ages, the system's response to an injury changes too. The most significant of these is to do with inflammatory response, which becomes markedly slower, meaning blood cannot reach the effected area as quickly, resulting in severe swelling and a slowing of phagocytosis.
Expedited responses are a great way to limit damage, but it's important that all staff are aware of what the right thing to do is, rather than rushing in with treatment that may exacerbate the issue.
Australian Health Professionals provide a range of specialised education modules for RACF workers as well as families, and one of the key areas where we can supply training is in regards to acute clinical response. With the right knowledge, everyone working in an RACF should be able to get a resident the care that they need immediately.
Topics of the education modules are diverse, and can be tailored to suit the specific needs of an RACF - with examples including skin tear management, treatment escalation, infection control or aseptic techniques. In addition, there are both physical and theoretical components, so a wide range of different aspects of wound management can be covered.
It's the ongoing care after the event that really matters in terms of getting a resident back up to full capacity.
While taking appropriate action in the initial stages of a wound can make a huge difference to patient outcomes, it's the ongoing care after the event that really matters in terms of getting a resident back up to full capacity. The risk of infection is higher amongst seniors, again due to a slowing of the body's immune system with age, so making sure that an issue is cared for is absolutely key. This can be partially addressed through nutrition and dietetics, but it's also important to be trained in advanced wound care.
To ensure your RACF is prepared and equipped, Australian Health Professionals can conduct a thorough facility audit of wound management protocols, as well as onsite and remote clinical consultation. Another important aspect of post-injury care is how it may affect a resident's behaviour. This is especially true in cases where pain or mobility issues result from a wound, and it can be incredibly frustrating for a senior to feel as though they are losing their ability to remain independent.
While there are many ways to help facilitate a speedy recovery from an injury that results in a wound, the best care of all is preventing the accident from happening in the first place. Accordingly, Australian Health Professionals can help a RACF to implement falls prevention and skin tear prevention programs.
For more information on how to reduce the dangers of wounds, get in touch with Australian Health Professionals today.