Clinical Approach to Chronic Wound Management in Older Adults

Wahila Alam MD; Jonathan Hasson MD, MBA; May Reed MD


J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021;69(8):2327-2334. 

In This Article


A chronic wound is defined as one that fails to progress through a timely reparative process to re-establish anatomic and functional skin integrity over 1–3 months.[1,2] The Wound Healing Society categorizes chronic wounds into four different categories based on the causative etiologies: pressure, diabetic, venous, and arterial.

Chronic wounds represent a silent epidemic that affects much of the older population throughout the world.[3] Determining the prevalence of chronic wounds can be challenging due to different categories and overlapping descriptions.[4] According to data from a systematic review published in 2017, chronic wounds affect 5.7 million Americans with an annual cost of $20 billion.[5] The impact is not only economic but significantly affects the quality of life for patients and their families, causing pain, loss of function, distress, embarrassment, social isolation, hospitalization, or even death.[6]