by Hy-Tape International
In order to promote rapid healing, improve patient comfort and prevent complications, it is important that healthcare professionals actively work to prevent infection. One key component of that effort is wound dressing securement. Secure, gentle and effective dressings can help prevent the ingress of foreign material, reduce damage during dressing changes and help foster an ideal healing environment. This can help reduce the risk of infection, improving patient outcomes and lowering costs.1 In this post, we will explore the importance of infection prevention and effective dressing securement strategies to help prevent infection.
Wound infection is a serious and prevalent problem in modern health care. One study found that after clean surgery, wound infection rates were 8% in the general population and up to 25% among older patients.3 These percentages are likely even higher in wounds received outside of controlled medical conditions. Infections pose serious risks for patients and increase health care costs. They can slow wound healing and, if left untreated, cause more serious complications such as sepsis and septic shock.2 This contributes to increased costs, with some estimates showing that the average infection costs hospitals an additional $6,813.4
Wound Dressing Best Practices for Infection Prevention
Health care professionals must take a proactive stance to reduce the rate of infection in wound care patients. This means following wound care best practices and using dressings that are strong, waterproof, and gentle. This allows them to protect the wound from potentially infectious pathogens while creating the best possible conditions for rapid and complete healing.1,2,5
Dressings should be secure. Dressings must be secured with a strong adhesive to prevent looseness that can allow material to enter the wound area. This also can reduce the frequency with which dressings need to be replaced, thus reducing exposure to foreign material.2
Dressings should be gentle. The removal of dressings often exacerbates wound inflammation and can cause skin tearing. Dressing adhesives should be gentle to prevent irritation or more serious injury that could delay wound healing or make the wound more susceptible to infection.2,5
Dressings should be waterproof. Wound dressings are often exposed to sweat, incontinence, or other sources of moisture that can weaken the adhesive and cause the dressing to fall off. Dressing adhesives should be waterproof to prevent this from occurring, particularly in active patients or patients with incontinence.2,5
Dressings should reduce the risk of cross-contamination. One of the major sources of infection is contamination from health care providers or other patients. This is exacerbated when a single roll of medical adhesive is shared among multiple patients. When tape is hygienically sealed and used only for a single patient, it is possible to avoid these issues. However, keeping a single roll for a single patient is often more costly and less practical. Using tape in short rolls and single-use packaging can help reduce costs, reduce tape waste, and lower the risk of cross-contamination.6
Secure, gentle, and effective wound dressings comprise the first line of defense against infection. Because wounds need a moist healing environment, protected from pathogens and other foreign matter, it is critical that health care professionals make effective wound dressing securement a priority and choose dressing methods that are strong and gentle and reduce the incidence of cross-contamination.
1. Ubbink DT, Brölmann FE, Go PM, Vermeulen H. Evidence-based care of acute wounds: a perspective. Adv Wound Care (New Rochelle). 2015;4(5):286–294. doi:10.1089/wound.2014.0592.
2. Health Service Executive. HSE Office of the Nursing Services Director. National best practice and evidence based guidelines for wound management. Dublin, Ireland: HSE; 2009. http://www.hse.ie/eng/about/Who/ONMSD/NMPDU/NMPDDN/National-Best-Practic.... Accessed January 31, 2018.
3. Noman TA, Raja'a YA, Assiraji HM, Assofi YA. Rate of wound infection after clean surgery. Saudi Med J. 2001;22(1):58–60.
4. Drew P, Posnett J, Rusling L, on behalf of the Wound Care Audit Team. The cost of wound care for a local population in England. Int Wound J. 2007;4:149–155.
5. Guo S, DiPietro LA. Factors affecting wound healing. J Dent Res. 2010;89(3):219–229. doi:10.1177/0022034509359125.
6. Love KL. Single-patient rolls of medical tapes reduce cross-contamination risk. Infection Control Today. http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/articles/2013/01/singlepatient-roll.... Published January 21, 2013. Accessed August 8, 2017.
About the Company
Hy-Tape International offers high-quality adhesive tape and has served the market for 70 years. Tapes are available in strips, patches, and kit rolls giving health care providers a wide range of options for securing dressings and devices. Free product samples are available at www.hytape.com or by calling 1-800-248-0201.
Industry Voices is brought to you by health care industry sponsors. All content is developed and paid for by the sponsoring company. Kestrel Health Information, Inc. is not involved in the creation of this content. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.