Wounds are normally described as an alteration or damage to the well-being of tissues and skin cells. Taking good care of a wound includes: correctly and carefully cleansing the wound, flushing the wound with saline to remove residue or debris, changing medical coverings/dressings and many other treatments needed or ordered by a specialist. Aside from having a physical toll on the body, having a wound can also greatly impact a patient’s mental state and feelings.
Billions of dollars are spent every year to provide medical care to patients suffering from chronic wounds. However, the complete process of wound care goes far beyond physical treatment, it also includes providing the patient with psychological and emotional help. This plays a fundamental role upon which proper care and healing largely depend. So, it is of utmost importance to get the appropriate care and evaluation from an expert.
Dealing with emotions.
One of the most common features in acute and chronic wounds is pain. This can vary depending on the severity of the case. Nowadays, medical facilities offer a wide range of medical treatments which can aid in pain control. But despite the variety of treatments, many patients undergo psychological and emotional problems when having to live with an acute or chronic wound, which might be more complicated to deal with.
It has been proven that patients whose attitude toward their current health situation is more optimistic, tend to have a more successful healing process than those who feel depressed or anxious while enduring the whole wound recovery period.
The emotional and mental aspects in a patient’s life when coping with a wound may be varied. The following are some of the feelings and problems patients with a wound may go through:
- Distress of becoming unemployed, hence experiencing financial problems which can negatively impact the general health status.
- Fear of turning into a burden for family members and caregivers.
- If there are mixed emotions, patients may develop low self-esteem and this can turn out to be very burdensome for them.
- Physical changes in appearance and the loss of functionality in the affected body part may cause distress and sadness to the patient.
- Shame of possible unpleasant odor originating from the wound, noticeable secretions, and changes in clothing options, to better adjust the bulging medical coverings.
- Fear of losing some measure of self-sufficiency and therefore experiencing a bad quality of life.
- Possible seclusion from society because of limited motion which mainly depends on the severity and setting of the wound.
A diversity of feelings may be felt by patients who experience wounds. It is not easy to endure acute or chronic wounds and a patient with any of these will most likely need to make changes to his or her daily life. A successful healing process is possible if the patient has the right physical and mental help from a health professional.
Nowadays there is a variety of alternatives to treat wounds and its physical and mental conditions. Patients need to be treated for both emotional and physical aspects when it comes to wound healing since these two have a great impact on a successful wound healing process.
Below are some of the processes and strategies which can significantly aid patients to mentally recover amidst wound care:
- Alleviating distress towards the healing process is fundamental, therefore specialists should be knowledgeable about each wound scenario, to make the patient feel more comfortable with the treatment given.
- Providing support through different groups is also a good option when trying to help a patient and relatives/caregivers. Members of these groups openly share their emotions and experiences related to wound healing and care with others who are undergoing the same situation.
- Living with a wound is not easy at all and the assistance and support from a kindhearted and understanding caregiver is extremely fundamental to provide the patient with the best medical treatment possible. Digital photography has been recommended as one of the most efficacious strategies to help the patient accept and feel more enthusiastic about his or her recovery process. The caregiver may take pictures every week or every two weeks and show them to the patient so that he can observe how the process is advancing and make sure the patient knows that there is indeed progress in the recovery process.
- Respiration management and guided imagery are two options to treat the psychological side of a patient with a wound. These two therapies are great at promoting relaxation and calmness.
- Engaging in activities or hobbies that patients are fond of works fantastically when treating psychological problems related to wounds. Good examples of fun activities can be: Listening to music, reading a good book or taking a nice walk. Patients can benefit considerably from these activities which will have a positive effect on their mental and general health.
- Attending therapy sessions with an expert can be beneficial for the patients since it allows them to release emotions through talking with an impartial individual. Certified therapists can help patients to find a better way to deal with and try to overcome emotional difficulties related to wound care.
- Engaging in special programs to control stress can be beneficial for patients since this also provides a way to confront negative emotions.
Qualified medical assistance to treat a wound and all that it entails is fundamental for a patient who has to live with a wound. Both the physical and mental aspects should be carefully managed to provide the patient with a more complete treatment and care.
Qualified personnel, relatives, friends, and a self-directed health plan are essential to successfully carry on with the treatment process.