PT’s Role in Wound Care

Most people don’t realize that physical therapists can play a huge role in wound care healing. It’s actually become a large part of my practice. Wound care can be very challenging, yet it’s rewarding when you see quick results and good response from patients.

A wound care program can be run through the nursing or therapy department and delivered through inpatient or outpatient services. Advantages of running it through the therapy department are varied. Therapists can perform selective debridement of devitalized tissue, and wound care often ties to other therapy-related programs including Lymphedema, peripheral neuropathy and mobility issues. Working with a department that addresses all of these functional limitations allows the patient to receive more complete care more efficiently.

Likewise, having a quality wound care department builds physician trust and reliance on the professional judgment of the therapists. The value of this can’t be understated.

Typical treatment of wound care includes a thorough medical history to determine the cause of the wound. Addressing circulation deficiencies is critical, as those will weigh heavily on the wound’s response to treatment of wounds. The clinician must have an understanding of when to use selective debridement of devitalized tissue and what dressings are available and how they work. Likewise, you should have good knowledge of documentation techniques as well as standardized tests like the Braden Scale, ABI (ankle brachial index) and staging pressure ulcers.

Wound care can be trial and error sometimes. I guess that’s what I like about it. Every patient is a little different with how they will respond; but I’m always able to make some type of difference in their skin integrity and overall health!


Amy Robinson, PT

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