Physical Therapy and Wound Care for Seniors
Is there a reason to look towards physical therapy and wound care for seniors?
What is the connection between physical therapy and wound care?
It may come a news to some, but seniors with acute or chronic wounds can be referred to physical therapy, for helping the wounds to heal better and faster.
Although using physical therapy to heal wounds is not new, it is not understood so well.
How does Physical Therapy help in Wound Closure?
Physical therapists promote wound healing in three ways:
- Physical therapists are qualified in cleaning of infected tissue from wounds (sharp debridement) which enhances the conditions for complete wound healing.
- They also provide an array of types of physical therapy (these are listed below). The activity and stimulation helps cell regeneration and that helps improve how the wounds heal.
- Physical therapists can address the issues of impaired functioning for activities of daily living, that came as a result of having the wound.
When wounds are being treated with physical therapy, a doctor’s involvement is still helpful, to fine-tune individual treatment.
What types of physical therapy are used in wound care?
There is an impressive variety of therapies in use nowadays for wound care. These either reduce pain, increase circulation, redistribute pressure, or have other functions.
The following list is probably pretty much up to date, as it was provided on a specialized site for wound care called Today’s Wounds Clinic.
- Compression Bandaging in multiple, specialized layers
- Electrical Stimulation
- Gauze compression dressing – Unna’s Boot
- Massage for Lymphatic Drainage
- Monochromatic Infrared photo energy
- Pulse Lavage with suction
- Short-Stretch outer bandaging to stimulate blood vessels
- Ultrasound – high frequency
- Ultrasound – low frequency (contact and contact-less a.k.a. mist therapy)
- Ultraviolet Phototherapy
- Vacuum Assisted Closure or, negative pressure wound therapy
- Weight distribution with Contact Casting
- Whirlpool Baths
Who Does a Physical Therapy Wound Care therapist treat?
Physical therapy wound care therapy can help treat wounds for people such as:
- Wounds from diabetes
- Pressure injuries such as bed sores
- Vascular insufficiency
- Acute injuries
The Bottom Line
A study was done that aimed to prove the cost-effectiveness of using physical therapy wound care therapy. The study concluded that physical therapy wound care therapy improved wound closure times and was apparently cost effective, but that further studies were needed.
So we see that specially trained physical therapist can be part of the team for wound care and rehabilitation of patients. You may come across such dedicated people in a hospital setting or in an outpatient setting in rehabilitation.
Physical therapy and wound care for seniors can be enhanced by this group of specialized physical therapists. Physical therapists have so much information to share in the field of functional rehabilitation. Perhaps with time and greater awareness, they will also gain recognition for their potential to contribute in the field of physical therapy and wound care for seniors.
It seems that physical therapy wound care for seniors can improve quality of life for seniors and help with healing of wounds with an understanding of the effect of aging on how wounds heal.
Photo by Daniel Clay on Unsplash
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