Open wounds shouldn’t go unnoticed in seniors.
Bumps and bruises happen to everyone. When they do, sometimes the damage requires more care than a kiss and a bandage. Cuts, lacerations, abrasions, and other types of open wounds can easily become infected—leading to more extreme health concerns. And since falls are among the most common forms of injury in the elderly population, lacerations and similar injuries can be particularly concerning. If you’re concerned that your elderly loved one might fall and end up with a severe laceration that requires medical attention, know that DispatchHealth can help. We offer convenient, in-home urgent care for seniors with severe lacerations, allowing them to receive the adequate medical attention they need in the comfort of their own homes.
The difference between cuts, lacerations & abrasions.
Open wounds vary in severity; and sometimes, it might be difficult to determine whether seeking immediate medical attention is the right choice for the injury. It’s never a bad idea to consult a medical professional for an injury following an accident; even if the cut or abrasion seems insignificant, it could become infected without the proper treatment and care. Nevertheless, knowing which type of injury you have could help you determine the promptness at which you should seek medical care:
An abrasion occurs when the skin scrapes against a rough, hard surface. While there’s not usually a lot of bleeding with this injury, the wound will need to be thoroughly cleaned and bandaged to avoid infection.
A laceration is a deep cut or tearing of the skin that often requires stitches or medical staples. In the case of extreme lacerations, bleeding can be rapid and extensive—requiring immediate medical attention.
When to seek treatment for a cut, laceration, or abrasion?
An open wound—like a deep cut, laceration, or abrasion—is classified as an injury involving an external break in body tissue, usually involving the skin. Nearly everyone will experience an open wound at some point in their lives, and most minor ones can be treated at home. However, home cures for these injuries can only go so far; in extreme situations, a laceration or abrasion could require medical care for proper healing. Plan to seek professional treatment for a cut, laceration, or abrasion if:
- There’s a lot of uncontrollable bleeding that won’t stop under direct pressure
- The bleeding lasts for longer than 20 minutes
- The injury was caused by a foreign object
- The open wound is deeper than ½ inch
- The injury is a result of an accident that could have caused major trauma
Popular causes of cuts, lacerations & abrasions in seniors.
Causes of cuts, lacerations, and abrasions in seniors are typically accidents. As we age, the likelihood of a fall resulting in a significant injury increases. Why? An aged body often has a more difficult time bouncing back from minor injuries, as the bones and skin are more fragile and recovery time is longer. Accidents that result in serious injuries and open wounds often involve:
- Blunt trauma
- Road rash
- Falls with sharp objects
How to prevent infections in seniors
The risk of a wound infection from a simple cut or a traumatic laceration can be cause for concern in anyone, as an open wound offers free passage into the body for all types of germs, bacteria, and other irritants. For those immunocompromised patients, seniors, or people with underlying health concerns, the risk of infection from an open wound is even higher. It’s extremely important that these high-risk individuals take extra precautions with cuts, lacerations, and abrasions. Here are some ways to impede infection in an elderly loved one with an open wound:
- Thoroughly clean wound as soon as possible with soap and water
- Apply antibiotic ointment (if readily available)
- Cover open wounds with a bandage or gauze dressing
- Keep the wound clean and dry for the first 24 hours
- Change the dressing daily using sterile gloves
For deep cuts and lacerations, stitches or medical staples may be needed to keep the wound closed during the healing process. If the cut, laceration, or abrasion was inflicted on a contaminated surface or object, a tetanus shot may also be required to minimize the chance of a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of skin injuries.
If left untreated
If left untreated, an open wound may not heal—leaving a gateway for germs, bacteria, and other contaminants to enter the body and blood stream. These infections can lead to all kinds of serious and deadly health concerns. If you’re questioning the severity of an injury or would like to play it safe, DispatchHealth is here to help.
Instead of exposing your bloody, deep, and painful wound to the horrors of a crowded ER waiting room, we can treat your injury in the comfort of your home. Offering an affordable flat rate for uninsured patients, but accepting most major forms of health insurance—including Medicare and Medicaid—DispatchHealth does all that we can to ensure you benefit from personalized medical care at an affordable price. Best of all, requesting care is as easy as contacting us via a phone call, our app, or on our website. Within a few hours, our medical professionals will arrive at your place of need.