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Flashcards in Skin integrity and wound care Deck (55)
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What are the primary functions of the skin?

Temperature regulation
Vitamin D production


What are some factors that affect skin integrity?
(things that must be maintained)

If the skin and mucous membranes are unbroken and undamaged they provide a barrier

Adequately nourished and hydrated cells resist injury and disease easier

Adequate circulation must be maintained for cells to live and remove wastes


What are some factors that place a person at risk for skin alterations and why?

Lifestyle variables like promiscuity, homosexuality, IV drug usage, hemophiliacs, Occupation that gives sun exposure, piercings - (most of these would allow microorganisms entry though puncture or mucous membrane damage)

Changes in health state
dehydration or malnutrition
reduced sensation
(skin will become prone to breakdown, lack of senses could cause damage the pt doesnt know about,)

Illness - diabetes
(lack of circulation could cause ulcers or cuts to become necrotic)
Infections (impedes healing)

Diagnostic measures
GI tests could cause diarrhea ( this can cause maceration because of prolonged exposure to moisture)

Therapeutic measures
Bedrests (immobility)
Casts (masceration and irritation)
Aquathermia unit (masceration)
Radiation therapy (damages normal cells as well as cancerous cells, could destroy skin integrity)
Medications (diarrhea, itching, rashes, ect)


What are some developmental considerations for skin integrity?

Infant skin and mucous membranes are easily damaged and subject to infection

Skin is weaker in children under 2 than it is in adults

as children get older their skin becomes increasingly resistant in injury and infection

When people get older the structure of skin changes. It loses circulation, elasticity, and thickness,


What are some specific skin alterations that occur when aging?

The subcutaneous and dermal layers become thin making them easier to damage, harder to insulate, wrinkle, and pressure and pain is reduced

Sebacious and sweat glands decrease in activity causing the skin to become drier causing pruritis

Cell renewal is shorter, healing time delayed

Melanocytes are fewer in number, causing grey-white hair and uneven pigment

Collagen fiber is less organized , losing elasticity


What conditions of health could cause a person to be more at risk for skin integrity damage?

Very thin or very obese people
Fluid loss through fever, vomiting, or diarrhea (dehydration)
Excessive perspiration in skin folds (masceration, possible infections)
Jaundice (pruritus can cause open lesions)
Diseases of the skin like psoriasis and eczema
Someone that takes Medications (diarrhea, itching, rashes, ect)


How are wounds classified?

Intentional/ unintentional (surgical/accidents)

Open and closed (skin surface broken/unbroken)

Acute and chronic (approximated and short healing time/ unapproximated, long healing time)

Partial thickness, full thickness, complex


What is the difference between intentional and unintentional wounds?


approximated edges, therapeutic in nature, bleeding controlled, low risk of infection, healing is facilitated


accidental, nonapproximated edges, contamination is likely, edges are jagged not clean, bleeding uncontrolled, high risk of infection


What is open vs closed wounds


skin surface is broken ex (incisions and abrasions)


skin surface not broken but soft tissue is damaged, internal hemorrhaging and injury may have occured.


Acute vs chronic wounds

What types of wounds would you expect to see in these categories?


heal within days or weeks, edges are approximated, infection risk is low, go through normal healing process

surgical or therapudic wounds


do not go through normal healing process, edges are not approximated, infection risk is high, healing time is delayed, they remain in the inflammatory phase of healing,

any wound that does not heal along the expected continuum, like pressure ulcers, arterial or venous insufficiency


How is tissue repaired?

by physiologic mechanisms that regenerate functioning and replace connective tissue cells with scar tissue

They increase blood supply to damaged area, wall off and remove cellular and foreign debris, and initiate cellular development


What is primary, secondary, and tertiary intention?

Primary - well approximated wound, intentional,

Secondary - when a large wound is left open to heal, heals slowly causing more scar tissue, edges are not well approximated, often contaminated,

Tertiary - wounds that are left open for a couple days to drain exudate or allow edema and infection to drain, and are then closed


what can you do to promote healing? (principals)

keep a wound clean and free of debris, positioning for circulation,

Surgical asepsis when caring for the wound


What are the phases of wound healing?

hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation


What is hemostasis?

bleeding stops and, exudate is produced in this phase creating heat, redness and pain


What is the inflammatory response ?

lasts about 4-6 days
Leukocytes and macrophages arrive to ingest bacteria, and debris.
Macrophages release growth factors 24 hours after cycle starts to help new epithelial cells and blood vessels grow
Acute inflammation here (redness, swelling, heat, pain)
Systemic considerations are elevated temp, leukocytosis, and malaise


What is the proliferation phase?

What are some considerations in this phase?

lasts for several weeks
new tissue is made to fill wound space, especially granulation tissue (foundation for scar tissue development)
Wound will be lighter in color by end of second week
skin forms over granulation tissue

nutrition, oxygenation, preventative strain


What is the maturation phase?

final stage begins about 3 weeks after injury
deposited collagen is remodeled and forms a scar


What are some local negative factors that affect wound healing?

pressure (no circulation )

Desiccation ( cells that dehydrate and die)
Maceration (overhydration related to urinary and fecal incontinence)


Edema (interferes with blood supply to site, causes inadequate oxygen and nutrition)

Infection ( increases stress on the body, leaves no reserves of energy to heal the wound , toxins are also produced when bacteria die)

Necrosis ( dead tissue, healing cannot take place with dead tissue in wound)


What are the systemic factors that affect wound healing?


circulation and oxygenation ( must have enough of both to deliver oxygen and nutrients and remove wastes and debris)

Nutritional status (we require adequate amounts of macro and micronutrients to heal, as well as fluids)

wound condition (including sutures)

Meds and health status ( People taking corticosteriods, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, chronic illnesses, and prolonged antibiotic therapy are at risk)

Immunsupression - from disease, meds, and age


When would the symptoms of infection become noticeable and what would you see?

2 - 7 days

purulent drainage, increased drainage, pain, redness, swelling, increased body temp, leukocytosis,


What can cause a hemorrhage?
How often should you check?

Slipped suture, dislodged clot at wound site, infection, erosion of a blood vessel by a foreign body like a drain

frequently during the first 48 hours then every 8 after that


who would be most at risk for a dehiscence or an evisceration ?


What do you do?

people who smoke, obese, malnourished, use anticoagulants, infected wounds, or have excessive coughing, vomiting , and sneezing

increase in flow of fluid post op about 4 or 5 days.
"something popped"

Medical emergency if in abdomen cover with moistened towel of 0.9 saline and call doctor



What is a fistula ?

What causes it?

What does the presence indicate?

abnormal passage from an internal organ to the outside of the body or from one internal organ to another

often the result of an infection that has developed into an abscess

increases the risk for delayed healing, additional infection, fluid and electrolyte imbalances ,and skin breakdown


What are some psychological effects of wounds?

Pain, anxiety and fear, changes in body image


what populations are at risk for pressure ulcers?

what two mechanisms contribute to them?

Elderly, individuals with spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neuromuscular disorders, individuals with altered levels of conciousness (may not know if wet or soiled and may not care or be abe to perform hygene) individuals that are fresh out of major surgery

external pressure that compresses blood vessels

friction and shearing forces that tear and injure skin


what types of malnourishment contributes to pressure ulcers?

protein deficiency, electrolyte imbalances, insufficient calorie intake, vitamin C, poor fit of dentures or bad teeth, dehydration


how does urine and fecal matter increase the possibility of damage to the skin?

the skin is normally acidic, it raises the alkalinity, this promotes premature shedding of skin decreasing the skins defenses against bacteria, which results in enhanced growth of pathogens


What is the first indication of a pressure ulcer starting to form?

What should happen once pressure is initially removed at this point since its not a pressure ulcer yet

blanching of the skin over the area under pressure

hyperemia , and it should fade within 60-90 mins


What are the stages of pressure ulcer

suspected deep tissue injury