At LMH Wound Healing Center, our multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses and hyperbaric oxygen therapy staff is dedicated not only to healing wounds, but also to understanding the underlying causes. In doing so, we emphasize patient education, support and recommendations for patients and caregivers to prevent wound recurrence and avoid loss of limb (amputation).
Keys to Wound Healing
There are many challenges to wound care, but following these guidelines gives you the best chance of healing in a timely manner. Please let us know if you're facing barriers with these factors or any others in your care because there may be additional resources we can offer.
- Keep all your appointments for wound care, hyperbaric oxygen treatments, consultations and testing.
- Follow instructions closely when dressing and caring for your wound.
- Complete any prescribed antibiotic therapy.
- If you are diabetic, maintain good blood sugar control. Keep blood sugar levels at 150 mg/dl or below. Your HbA1c should be 7% or lower. Elevated blood sugar levels can impair wound healing by decreasing oxygen levels to the tissues and damaging blood vessels and nerves. Proper blood sugar control is critical to wound healing and good overall health.
- Offloading is one of the most important parts of wound healing. This may involve a recommendation for special shoes or inserts, a special mattress or wheelchair cushion or just not walking, sitting or lying on your wound. Absolute compliance with offloading recommendations is very important!
- If you are a smoker, work on quitting. Among other health issues, smoking constricts blood flow which interrupts the healing process. There are many community resources to help with smoking cessation, including information available at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
- Normal healing requires proper nutrition: adequate protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Deficiencies in any of these nutrients will result in delayed or impaired healing. Eating nutritious foods and staying well hydrated are important parts of wound healing.
- If your ulcer is caused by a blood flow problem with the veins in your legs, complying with compression therapy is also important. Use the form of compression therapy that has been ordered (hose, wraps, compression pumps, etc.) as recommended. Elevate your legs above the level of your heart as much as you can. Once your ulcer has healed, you will most likely need to continue using some form of compression therapy to prevent new ulcers from forming. Lymphedema and chronic vein problems require lifelong management.