Providers can become easily overwhelmed by the

Providers can become easily overwhelmed by the array of products available for treatment of established pressure ulcers. Most institutions should designate a wound care expert or wound care team to select a streamlined wound care product line that has simple guidelines. In a patient with end-stage disease who is receiving palliative care, appropriate treatment might be directed toward comfort (including minimizing dressing changes and odors) rather than efforts directed at healing. ? Complications Pressure ulcers are associated with increased mortality rates, although a causal link has not been proven. Complications include pain, cellulitis, osteomyelitis, systemic sepsis, and prolongation of lengths of stay in the inpatient or nursing home setting. ? When to Refer Ulcers that are large or nonhealing should be referred to a plastic or general surgeon or dermatologist for biopsy, debridement, and possible skin grafting. ? When to Admit Patients with pressure ulcers should be admitted if the primary residence is unable to provide adequate wound care or pressure reduction, if the wound is infected, or for complex or surgical wound care. Langemo DK et al; National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. Pressure ulcers in individuals receiving palliative care: a National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel white paper. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2010 Feb;23(2):59-72. [PMID: 20087072] Lohi J et al. Local dressings for pressure ulcers: what is the best tool to apply in primary and secondary care? Wound Care. 2010 Mar;19(3):123-7. [PMID: 20559190] National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel Website: http://www .npuap.org/pr2.htm Reddy M et al. Treatment of pressure ulcers: a systematic review. JAMA. 2008 Dec 10;300(22):2647-62. [PMID: 19066385] 9. Pharmacotherapy There are several reasons for the greater incidence of iatrogenic drug reactions in the elderly population, the most important of which is the high number of medications that elders take. Drug metabolism is often impaired in this group due to a decrease in glomerular filtration rate as well as reduced hepatic clearance. The latter is due to decreased activity of microsomal enzymes and reduced hepatic perfusion with aging. The volume of distribution of drugs is also affected. Since older adults have a decrease in total body water and a relative increase in body fat, water-soluble drugs become more concentrated and fat-soluble drugs have longer half-lives. Older individuals often have varying responses to a given serum drug level.