Wounds can be divided into two categories: acute and chronic wounds. Acute wounds repair themselves quickly and with minimal complications. If a person is healthy, an acute wound should heal within three weeks. In such cases, re-modelling normally occurs within the next year or so.
However, if a wound gets stuck in one of the four healing stages, it might become hard-to-heal or chronic.14 Finding the right treatment for chronic wounds can be challenging. Research shows that finding the right dressing is a key part of effectively managing chronic wounds. You should choose the dressing based on an assessment of the wound and its fluid, or exudate.
If you’re working with a patient with a chronic wound, your goal should be to choose a dressing that helps create an optimal healing environment.
An effective dressing should:
- conform to the wound bed;
- have antimicrobial properties;
- absorb excess exudate from the wound bed;
- protect the wound edges and periwound skin;
- maintain a moist healing environment;
- be comfortable and cost-effective; and
- be easy for the patient to remove and care for.