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Why Wound Care in Nursing Homes is So Critical

Serving a vitally important - but often overlooked - population of older adults in long-term care is core to our mission. In this three-part series, we’ll explain why wound care in nursing homes is so critical, who it affects, and how to deliver the highest quality of healthcare.

The US has more than 15,000 long-term care facilities, home to more than 1.3 million residents.An estimated 42% of the U.S. population aged 70 years and older will spend some time in a nursing home during their lives, and the number of older adults living in long-term care is likely to increase dramatically over the next several decades.

In fact, the United States Census Bureau has projected that the number of Americans aged 85 years and older will be approximately 19 million by 2050, representing approximately 5% of the country's population.

Most patients in nursing homes rely on Medicaid to pay for their care, and the rate of reliance on Medicaid has only increased over the past decades - a trend that, faced with the rising costs of healthcare, seems very likely to accelerate in years to come.

As the Baby Boom generation ages, the problems facing long-term care for older adults will face a population pressure not experienced before. Studies estimate that by 2030, we will be in the thick of a medical crisis. 

One analysis determined that the real challenges of caring for the elderly in 2030 will involve: (1) making sure society develops payment and insurance systems for long‐term care that work better than existing ones, (2) taking advantage of advances in medicine and behavioral health to keep the elderly as healthy and active as possible, (3) changing the way society organizes community services so that care is more accessible, and (4) altering the cultural view of aging to make sure all ages are integrated into the fabric of community life.

At Skilled Wound Care, our mission focuses around Challenge #2: taking advantages of advances in medicine to help heal wounds, keeping elderly patients as healthy as possible for as long as possible. 

The prevalence of pressure ulcers, especially in the older adult population, continues to be high and very costly, especially in those suffering from chronic diseases (like diabetes). Because 81% of Americans over 65 have more than one chronic condition, older adults in long-term care are at especially high risk for pressure injuries, and that preventing and healing wounds at the highest standards is an absolutely critical part of health care - and one that is often overlooked or viewed as secondary, when in fact it is a central component of wellness for older adults in long-term care settings.

In Part Two of this series, we’ll discuss which patients are especially affected by pressure ulcers, and why.

Skilled Wound Care is a mobile surgical practice committed to transforming the chronic wound care model in nursing facilities. Wound care experts make weekly bedside visits to patients in long-term care facilities, avoiding transfers to hospitals or clinics. Our expert physicians give patients the most up-to-date and effective wound treatments, and educate facility staff on how to help patients continue to heal quickly and effectively between visits. This model of collaborative care allows SWC’s physicians to improve patients’ lives and health outcomes, to empower nursing staff, and to raise public awareness. Skilled Wound Care, along with its nurse and nursing home partners, is working every day to positively transform traditional nursing home wound care.

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