- •Chronic wounds are common, costly, and are more likely to affect older adults.
- •Venous ulcers, neuropathic ulcers, ischemic ulcers, and pressure injuries each necessitate unique prevention and treatment strategies.
- •With the evidence and pragmatic guidance provided herein, providers will have the working knowledge to successfully manage chronic wounds.
Appropriate prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chronic wounds is important for providers across specialties. Wounds affect patients in all care settings and result in significant cost and morbidity. The burden of this condition falls largely on older adults, for whom the incidence of chronic wounds far exceeds that of younger populations.
Medicare costs for wound care in 2014 were estimated at greater than $28 billion, and the prevalence for most wound types was greatest in patients aged 75 or older.
Venous ulcers are the most common lower extremity wound type, comprising 45% to 60% of all wounds, followed by neuropathic ulcers (15% to 25%), ischemic ulcers (10% to 20%), and mixed ulcers (10% to 15%).
Fortunately, new wound-treatment modalities continue to emerge. This review summarizes the latest information regarding prevention, identification, classification, and treatment of chronic wounds. Guidance on management of major wound types and pearls regarding dressing selection are provided.