A Long-term Care Guide to Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)
NPWT is indicated for use in patients with chronic, acute, traumatic, sub-acute, and dehisced wounds, partial-thickness burns, pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, venous ulcers, flaps and grafts.
There are several advantages to NPWT over traditional wound treatment methods. It can:
- Reduce healing time
- Reduce pain and discomfort for patients
- Decrease the risk of infection
- Improve the overall appearance of the wound
NPWT is also easy to use, non-invasive, and can be performed in both inpatient and outpatient settings.
The use of NPWT in long-term care facilities for seniors
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) has been used increasingly in long-term care facilities for seniors to effectively treat a wide range of wounds. The use of NPWT in long-term care facilities can improve patients’ quality of life by reducing pain and discomfort and promoting faster wound healing.
In seniors, NPWT is particularly useful in treating pressure ulcers, which are a common problem among older adults. It is also effective in treating complex surgical wounds, such as those resulting from amputation. Along with these cases, NPWT can be used to treat traumatic wounds such as those caused by a fall or other incidents.
The use of NPWT in long-term care facilities for seniors can provide several benefits like:
- Reduce the length of hospital stays
- Decreasing healthcare costs
- Improve patients’ overall quality of life
- Increase patient satisfaction
- Reduce the number of complications associated with wound healing, such as infections and chronic wounds.
The science behind NPWT
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) uses a suction device to remove excess fluid, bacteria, and debris from the wound. NPWT refers to wound dressing systems that is comprised of a porous foam dressing upon which continuous or intermittent suction is applied through an electronically powered suction device. This creates a clean, low-pressure environment that promotes healing by increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the wound. It can gently pull fluid from the wound overtime, and this can reduce swelling and may help clean the wound and remove bacteria. This system also helps pull the edges of the wound together, which may stimulate the growth of new tissue that helps the wound close.
NPWT systems typically consists of foam dressing kits that include a porous foam dressing, drapes for adhesive application and silicone port pad for connection to the suction device and canister for fluid collection. The dressing kits and canisters come in sterile packaging and are disposable to be used for single use only. The foam dressing kit is applied to the wound, and a tube is attached to the dressing to connect it to the suction device and canister.
NPWT has been extensively studied and has been shown to be an effective treatment for a wide range of wounds. Studies have demonstrated that NPWT can reduce healing time, improve wound closure, and decrease the risk of infection. It has also been shown to be effective in treating chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers.
Example case studies of NPWT successfully treating wounds in seniors in long-term care
NOTE: The following case studies are fictional and are used to demonstrate the use-case scenarios of NPWT.
A senior patient with a pressure ulcer is not healing with traditional treatment method. After the use of. NPWT, the wound would show significant improvement within a week, and typically within a month show complete healing.
A senior patient undergoes amputation surgery. NPWT can be used to treat the surgical wound, which heals faster and with fewer complications than expected.
The benefits observed in these cases would include:
- Faster healing time
- Improved wound closure
- Reduced risk of infection
In the pressure ulcer case, the patient would experience a decrease in pain and an improvement in overall quality of life. In the amputation case, the patient would be able to be discharged from the hospital sooner than expected and require fewer follow-up appointments.
NPWT is typically more effective in promoting healing and reducing complications in treating wounds. The above are just a few examples of how negative pressure wound therapy can be used in lieu of traditional wound care.
Limitations of NPWT in treating wounds in seniors in long-term care
There are some potential limitations or challenges to using NPWT in long-term care facilities for seniors. One of the challenges is medical personnel need specific training and a sufficient level of expertise must be obtained prior to application and the ability to frequently monitor the wound healing process. Additionally, the cost of the equipment and disposables can be a limitation, particularly for long-term use.
Negative pressure wound therapy, by design, is for faster and more comfortable wound healing. Long-term use of NPWT would only be used in special circumstances—and most likely caused by either an extremely complicated wound or improper use of NPWT.
Recommendations for the use of NPWT in treating wounds in seniors in long-term care facilities include:
- Using NPWT in conjunction with other wound care measures for best results
- Regularly monitoring the wound healing process to ensure that NPWT is effective and adjust treatment as needed.
- Ensuring that the staff administering NPWT are properly trained and have the necessary equipment
- Assessing the cost-benefit of using NPWT for individual patients, especially for long-term use
Summary and conclusion
Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) is a non-invasive treatment method that uses an electronically powered suction device to remove excess fluid, bacteria, and debris from the wound—promoting healing. NPWT is particularly useful in treating pressure ulcers, surgical wounds, and traumatic wounds in seniors in long-term care facilities.
The benefits of NPWT include faster healing time, improved wound closure, and reduced risk of infection. It can also improve patients’ overall quality of life by reducing pain and discomfort. NPWT can be applied by all medical personnel, however; specific training and a sufficient level of expertise must be obtained prior to the application of NPWT.
MasVida Health is the leading provider of negative pressure wound therapy in the state of Texas, and now servicing the entire U.S. through 2-day shipping.
Deliver comfortable and more effective negative pressure wound care (NPWT) for your residents.
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To learn more about our NPWT program you can visit our page here.
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This article has been reviewed and certified for clinical accuracy by Brandi Whiteley, SVP of Compliance & Clinical Initiatives at MasVida Health.
In 2005, Brandi became a licensed vocational nurse from the University of Texas-Brownsville. Mrs. Whiteley spent her nursing career working with geriatric patients in LTC and home health specializing in wound care. Brandi oversees the planning, directing, and execution of all compliance and clinical initiatives for MasVida Health products and programs. Brandi also provides her professional perspectives, expertise, and direction into the development and implementation of clinical training and end-user certification programs. She is certified in oxygen trans fill operations, long term care certified infection preventionist (LTC-CIP), and wound care nurse certified (WCN-C). In 2014, she co-founded Emist Disinfection Solutions and assisted with the development of its patented electrostatic application technology and developed it’s Health-e certification program for end user training and robust infection prevention programs.