Wound Care - What to Expect
Your first appointment
At your first wound care appointment, we’ll go over your medical history and examine the affected area. We use several diagnostic tools to help us identify the cause of chronic wounds, including:
- Blood test – Inflamed wounds often release substances into the bloodstream that we can detect with a blood test. These tests can be used throughout care to determine if a treatment is reducing inflammation and helping wounds heal.
- Debridement - A procedure to clean all the non-viable tissue off and prompt the wound into healing.
- Wound culture – This test helps us determine what bacteria or viruses are growing inside wounds to identify the cause of infection.
- X-ray or MRI – These may be done to help us rule out any other infections and also to help us determine the extent of the wound.
After we’ve diagnosed your condition, we’ll develop a treatment plan that may include casts, surgery and advanced therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. We’ll also help you get supplies to take care of the wound at home.
You’ll need to keep pressure off the wound to let it heal. If your wound is located on the ankle or foot, our care team may recommend a cast or another device to keep pressure off the area. Be conscious of how you sit or lie down, and avoid positions that press the wound against the chair or bed.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation, or antibiotics if your wound is infected. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!
Caring for wounds at home
You’ll have to clean the wound at home to prevent infection. The doctor will provide instructions on how to clean it, including how much gauze to use when reapplying bandages.
Follow these general guidelines to prevent infection:
- Wash your hands before and after handling bandages or cleaning the wound
- Keep it bandaged until directed otherwise
- Keep the area clean and dry
Eating healthy, nutrient-filled foods can help the body heal. Your care team will include a dietitian to help with meal planning and other dietary needs. Dehydration can reduce blood flow to wounds. Drink the recommended amount of water each day (13 to 15 cups for men, and nine to 11 cups for women) to prevent dehydration.