Offloading and immobilization is important because it prevents repetitive trauma to a wound.
Offloading and immobilization are critical in wound healing. When someone has a wound on his or her ankle, repetitive bumping will never allow it to heal. The continuous trauma will “undo” whatever healing has taken place and keep the patient in a no-win situation. We saw this in one of our patients who had neuropathy (no feeling) in his foot. He kept bumping his heel on the edge of his wheelchair, unbeknownst to him. He didn’t understand why his wound wouldn’t heal after many other wound centers’ had tried all types of fancy bandages and other medical modalities. The answer was a simple one, sometimes the most overlooked answer of all.
At Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, offloading is offered in several ways:
- Total Contact Casting: a total contact cast allows someone to ambulate (keep moving) and to keep his limb/foot/arm or extremity completely still. So this person has complete freedom to go about his life without worrying about bumping, scraping or opening the wound.
- Orthotics: Orthotics are another way to immobilize and offload. By design, the patient’s orthotic is meant to control, guide, limit or restrict movement in a given direction. It can also reduce weight bearing forces for a particular purpose, as in the case of someone with a buttock bed sore. In many cases, it reduces pain as well, due to the offloading nature.
- A specialized offloading bed like the Clinitron® Bed: Some of our patients need
complete offloading while sleeping, due to very serious, deep bed sores, pressure ulcers and the like. The Clinitron® Air Fluidized Therapy beds provide an ideal healing environment for these types of patients by minimizing pressure and the forces that cause tissue breakdown: pressure, shear, friction, heat and moisture.This advanced technology provides the highest level of wound care for patients with complex, advanced wounds that are difficult to heal and expensive to manage.
- Another specialized mattress that uses air flow alternating pressure: it uses alternating air pressure to support the body while offloading in a timely manner for bed sore prevention and healing.
Many of our patients visit us with Nurse Case Managers who are often surprised at the plethora of hospital-level modalities that we offer.
If you have a nonhealing wound, contact us at 248-624-9800 for help. We are an expert outpatient wound and infection healing center.
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