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Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 2009 Sep-Oct;49(2):224-6. doi: 10.1016/j.archger.2008.08.005. Epub 2008 Oct 5.

Non-healing wounds: the geriatric approach.

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Skilled Geriatric Nursing Department, Herzog Hospital, P.O. Box 3900, Jerusalem 91035, Israel.


The most common types of non-healing wounds are four types: pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, ischemic ulcers and venous ulcers. Many of those wounds develop among the elderly, becoming non-healing to the extent that the patient may live with them all of his life, or even die because of them. Not enough attention is paid to the underlying contributing problems specific to the elderly patient. Those factors are physiologic (aging skin, immune state and atherosclerosis) and pathologic situation (diabetic disease, ischemia of leg). Therefore, the geriatric approach to a non-healing wound is comprehensive and multidisciplinary. Those including: patient's co-morbidities, functional state as measured by the activities of daily living (ADL) scale, nutritional status, social support, ethical beliefs and quality of life and not only the wound itself. Each discipline (the nursing staff, physician, dietitian, occupational, physical therapists and social worker) has its own task in preventing and treating such wounds. The ultimate goal therefore has been altered from healing of the wounds to symptom control, prevention of complications and to contribute to the patient's overall wellbeing. This review discusses all those items in a geriatric point of view, and how to deal with the non-healing wounds as a geriatric syndrome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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