Find out how wet treatment therapy benefits both patients with chronic wounds and the healthcare professionals who look after them
There are many reasons why different wounds heal at different speeds. The cause of the wound – whether it is an injury or related to a particular disorder – is a prime consideration, but there are also patient-specific factors such as their age, their existing medications and nutritional status. Whatever the reason, each wound will go through the same three-stage healing process.
Three stages of healing
Irrespective of the type of wound and the extent of tissue loss, the wound-healing process takes place in three dynamic stages: the cleansing phase, the granulation phase (tissue formation) and the epithelisation phase (epidermisation). In chronic wounds – ones that show little or no sign of healing, despite appropriate therapy, within an acceptable time frame - this healthy healing process is disturbed and tissue regeneration is delayed.
Stage 1: Cleansing Phase
Once the initial bleeding stops, white blood corpuscles can migrate more easily into the wound as blood vessels dilate and the vascular walls become more permeable. It is their task to defend against infection and to cleanse the wound.
At this stage the priority is to remove avital (non-vital) and necrotic tissue, to promote wound cleansing, and remove bacteria and toxins that could contribute to delayed healing.
Stage 2: Granulation Phase
The tissue from deep defects cannot regenerate so, during this period, a wound defect is filled with new tissue. The Granulation Phase describes the regeneration of tissue, when the wound is filled from the inside.
The priority here is to protect the new tissue and prevent wound desiccation. If the wound dries out, cells die. Permanent levels of hydration maintain the healing process.
Stage 3: Epithelisation Phase
Hydration is also important in the final stage of healing. At this point the skins functions have been restored to the greatest possible degree (complete regeneration is often not possible). Surface cells are in the process of completing the wound closure but are still vulnerable to the negative effects of dehydration and as such, must be kept moist and receive protection from harmful environmental influences.
During all three phases wound healing products should:
• absorb excessive exudate
• promote granulation tissue and activate healing processes
• keep moisture balance in order to provide optimal healing conditions
• protect the wound and prevent infection
Simplifying the healing process
To simplify treatment, and therefore improve the experience for both healthcare professional and patients, the logical solution is to find wound healing products that provide all the preconditions for the individual phases of healing, in as few different dressings as possible.
As well as being more pleasant and gentle for patients, fewer dressing changes mean more efficient wound care. Carers’ time can be better utilised and the wound can remain undisturbed for longer periods of time, reducing the chance of contamination. From a health economics perspective there is greater cost-efficiency through shorter treatments.
One manufacturer that has risen to this challenge is HARTMANN. Its Hydro Therapy wet treatment concept, especially designed for the treatment of chronic and poorly-healing wounds, consists of two wound dressings which are used one after the other.
HydroClean can be used during all three phases. It uses special hydrogel technology with a permanent rinsing absorption mechanism to clean and provide an optimal moist wound environment.
HydroTac enhances the wound healing process by regulating the moist wound environment. Its top film protects against bacterial contamination and negative environmental factors.
A clinical study showed that patients’ wounds, when treated with HydroClean, were more than twice as effectively cleared of fibrin and necrosis than wounds treated with amorphous hydrogel.