Nutrition: One of the three basic principles of wound healing
Once a pressure ulcer develops, the healing process depends on three basic principles:
1.) Pressure relief attained by constant turning, repositioning, and utilization of proper pressure relief devices;
2.) meticulous wound treatment that evaluates and matches the characteristics of the wound to the efficacy of the wound care product;
3) adequate nutrition support implemented as a result of a thorough nutritional assessment at admission and at regular intervals to uncover barriers to adequate nutrition and correct nutrient deficits.
A complex metabolic process must occur for wound healing to commence, which depends on both adequate overall nutrition and provision of specific nutrients at every step. Everyday health care professionals are confronted with patients and residents who are malnourished and, as a result, face the medical, financial, and quality-of-life consequences that accompany chronic non-healing wounds.
Key nutrients for healing
As a result of early hospital discharges of patients with pre-existing morbid conditions, long-term care facilities now care for some of the most seriously ill elderly. With the increased focus, both regulatory and management, on pressure ulcers, clinicians continue to search for effective clinical solutions for prevention and healing. Current research supports the importance of individual, well-recognized nutrients — vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, iron, and selenium — as essential for the dietary management of wound healing. Other specialized nutrients — arginine, peptide-based protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and medium-chain triglycerides — are also key players in the healing process.
Clinicians caring for residents faced with the pain and suffering associated with pressure ulcers have observed that healing can be impaired for those receiving standard tube-feeding formulas that do not supply adequate or well-tolerated energy, protein, fat, and specialized nutrients. For poorly nourished residents who are unable to heal on standard formulas, long-term care clinicians have turned to critical care, immune-supporting enteral formulas, typically used in hospital intensive care units to provide easily absorbed and efficiently utilized nutrients. By applying the principles of nutrition practiced in the acute care setting, clinicians in long-term care can improve outcomes and reduce suffering, which provide benefits to every layer of the health care system
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