Reassure them that chronic wounds can heal with the right treatment

Your patient, whether in hospital or the community is likely to have a lot of different feelings and stressors related to a chronic wound particularly if they have had it for a while or it has returned or it is not their first chronic wound.

They could be embarrassed by the odour or drainage from the wound. This in turn may decrease their contact with family and friends, leaving them feeling alone and isolated.  . Acknowledge these feelings and help your patient explore options for emotional and psychological support.

Chronic wounds can be quite painful and pain can cause slower wound healing.  Types of pain include chronic background pain, pain during wound treatment and even anticipatory pain before treatment has commenced. Managing and reducing pain is important to aid wound healing. Assess the pain and speak to the appropriate doctor regarding analgesia. Continue to assess the pain and analgesia as healing continues.

For many the cost of dressings and wound treatment may be prohibitive and this can create additional stressors for the patient.  If the patient cannot afford to use the most appropriate wound treatment, this may delay healing further.  Discuss the treatment options with your patient and help them understand the impact of treatment on wound healing times.

Explain to the patient that some wounds require specialist care from more than one type of health professional. For example, a diabetic ulcer might require input from a doctor (specialist or GP), a wound care nurse and a podiatrist or diabetes educator of both. Make the appropriate referrals, explaining to the patient the reason for involvement of each team member.