Exudate: What the Type and Quantities Tell You

For successful wound treatment and healing, it’s vital to understand the different types of exudate and how much is present.

Ooze. Pus. Secretion. The drainage that seeps out of wounds can go by many names, but as wound care clinicians, you know the technical term is exudate. This liquid is produced by the body in response to tissue damage and tells you all you need to know about the wound.

Dianna Dashner, DNP, FNP-C, WCC, CLNC, LLE, Senior Nurse Practitioner at ProMedica Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation said it’s important to know the type and amount of exudate because this will direct the type of treatment.

“For example, the use of a calcium alginate necessitates moderate to heavy exudate,” she said. “If the wound has purulent drainage, you will want to thoroughly cleanse the wound to remove all the exudate and then culture the wound.” She added that if an infection is suspected and there is moderate to heavy drainage, a calcium alginate with silver may be a good choice for treatment. Her example highlights the significance that the amount and type of exudate makes in wound treatment.

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Learn the Latest in Wound Care at Wipeout Wounds 2023: March 14 – April 13

Join hundreds of clinicians from across the U.S to network, participate in hands-on workshops, and learn new treatments and technologies that will enhance your knowledge and ability to care for patients.

As the world of wound care evolves and changes, so must caregivers. This conference tour includes updated practice guidelines, new therapeutic options hitting the market, reimbursement changes, contact hours, and more.

Wound care management and treatment continues to be a necessary skill for caregivers. Whether you are new to wound care or a seasoned veteran, this 5-hour interactive hands-on conference will provide you with the education and tools you need.

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Wound Debridement

According to the National Library of Medicine, wound debridement, or the removal of nonviable tissue, biofilm, and bioburden from the wound bed, is an essential part of standard wound treatment.

Bioburden consists of microorganisms on the surface of the wound bed, while biofilm is a substance created by the presence of bacteria, microbes, and cellular debris. The removal of these tissues optimizes the wound bed for ongoing granulation of healthy tissue and promotes epithelialization.

Tissues like these act as barriers to wound healing, and chronic wounds will be unable to heal if these tissues are present — making debridement an essential part of the healing process.

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The Essential Role of Nutrition in Wound Care

When tackling the complexities of wound healing, it is easy to overlook your patient’s nutritional status on this journey. We often glaze over nutrition in wound care and focus on other concerns when the healing process is not optimal, posing questions like: Have we ordered vascular studies? Have we gotten them on to the most adequate support surface? Is there an underlying infection we need to address? Why has healing stalled?!

The frustration can be overwhelming. Which is one of the reasons to remember the importance of nutrition in wound healing.

According to the National Library of Medicine, good nutrition is essential for healing, though this is often the last box we check when reviewing wound healing requirements. Nutrition in wound healing is so much more important than the attention we often give it, and conversations surrounding nutrition should take place with patients and their caregivers at the beginning of treatment. Ongoing reinforcement of this education is also critical. Let’s look at some of those essential nutrients.

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Diabetes Wounds: Caring for Foot Ulcers and Other Wounds

Diabetes wounds can be some of the most challenging to treat, even for the most experienced wound care professionals. As the prevalence of diabetes continues to grow, with 38% of U.S. adults having prediabetes, whether you are new to wound care or a seasoned professional, you will most likely encounter patients with diabetes on an increasing basis.

The American Diabetes Association recognizes November as American Diabetes Month, and as of 2022, diabetes has affected 37.3 million people in the United States. Having diabetes can complicate and delay the healing process of any type of wound, including pressure injuries, venous ulcers, arterial ulcers, or trauma wounds.

However, diabetes wounds can be especially pervasive, as they are known to be slow to heal, and there are numerous reasons why. One reason is that the cells most responsible for healing cannot correctly function when the patient has elevated blood sugars or has developed hyperglycemia with an increased risk for arterial disease.

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Understanding the Foundation of Wound Care Treatments

A healthy wound environment is essential for healing. The type of wound care treatment chosen can have either a positive or a negative effect on this process. Starting with the basics and adding on treatments as needed can make a big difference.

Treatment choices are based on the etiology of the wound, wound environment, and the patient’s underlying medical conditions. We’ll begin with the basics of wound care and then look at additional treatments and adjunct therapies.

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Wound Care Basics: Types of Wounds

Wound care professionals need a baseline knowledge of the different types of wounds they encounter. Correctly diagnosing and treating the wound as well as any underlying causes, will give you and the patients you care for the best chance of success.

Types of wounds are classified as either acute or chronic. Let’s first look at acute wounds, which tend to move along the healing continuum normally and usually heal within six-eight weeks.

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Managing Pressure Injuries: 6 Key Considerations

Wound care is an exciting specialty that requires continuous learning.

With various wound types and multiple wound care products and treatments available, clinicians strive to stay up to date on evidence-based practices to ensure they are providing patients with current standards of care.

Managing pressure injuries is one area of wound care that many wound care professionals encounter regularly, as they are pervasive across the healthcare continuum.

Whether you work in home health, acute care, or long-term care, you should be aware of some key concepts when managing pressure injuries, as explained by Don Wollheim, MD, FAPWCA, WCC, DWC.

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Wound Care Nurse Duties

Patients with a diverse range of health conditions rely on wound care nurses to manage their treatment and keep them safe from infection. But what exactly do wound care nurse duties include?

Wound care nurses perform a wide variety of critical services, from assessing diabetic foot conditions and mitigating infections to developing treatment plans and caring for pressure injuries.

The importance of wound care in nursing relates to the ability to reduce a patient’s pain and promote healing as quickly and completely as possible. To become a certified wound care nurse, you will need to enroll in specialized wound care courses. These courses provide nurses with the wound care information they need to remain current with evolving care standards, enhance their knowledge of skin and wound management, and stay legally defensible at bedside.

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What Happened to Practicing Wound Care Basics?

Having been involved in wound care for about 25 years, I have seen many changes in our understanding of wound healing, research evidence, and technology, often straying from wound care basics.  

As I hear my students describe common practices today and the many myths of wound care, I’m led to wonder, “What happened to starting with wound care basics for healing?”

A colleague of mine once stated there are basically two fundamentals to healing wounds: a healthy patient and a healthy wound environment. Once those are accomplished, topical treatments will not make that big of a difference.

However, clinicians often cling to some “holy grail” treatment in the form of a dressing or adjunctive modality that will somehow overcome the need to practice solid, evidence-based wound care.

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