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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | December 2020

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Nutrition and wound care: what community nurses should know

Nutrition and wound care: what community nurses should know

Article topics: Hydration, Malnutrition, Wound healing

The term ‘wound’ can cover everything from relatively minor wounds, such as a small surgical scar, to major wounds, such as chronic leg ulcers. Typically, the cause and type of wound determines how quickly and effectively it heals (Thomas and Bishop, 2007). The presence of complications such as infection can dramatically increase the time it takes for a wound to heal. In a 2015 research study, conducted by gathering data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) database, the cost burden of wound care in the NHS was estimated. After adjusting for comorbidities, the estimated cost to the NHS was between £4.5 billion and £5 billion. Furthermore, the study found that nutritional deficiency and diabetes were independent risk factors for wounds not healing (Guest et al, 2015). Nutritional factors, such as protein-energy malnutrition, dehydration, and deficiency in certain micronutrients, have all been identified as important for some stages in the process of wound healing. Being able to identify those who are malnourished or at risk of becoming so, and those who have micronutrient deficiencies, is key to successful wound healing outcomes.

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