By Hy-Tape International
Nurses and other health care professionals often dress dozens of wounds in a single day. Each wound must be appropriately cared for using best practices in order to reduce the risk of infection, discomfort, and other complications. Yet many health care professionals struggle to dress wounds in difficult places, and struggle to ensure the dressing stays secure even when the patient is active. In order to more effectively dress wounds, it is important to adopt best practices for wound care and use better wound dressings and adhesives.
Why Effective Dressing Application is Critical
Better Outcomes: The security and effectiveness of the wound dressing can impact healing time, rate of complication, and the discomfort experienced by patients. In order to reduce the risk of foreign material compromising the wound area, and to keep the wound moist, it is necessary to follow best practices.
Reduced Costs: Wound dressings (and the time spent applying them) can amount to a significant financial drain on health care institutions. In one recent study, it was found that communities with moderate wound incidence require a full-time nurse for every 5,000 residents. Given that the current average salary for a full-time registered nurse is $67,930, this can quickly translate to significant sums.
Increased Patient Comfort: Perhaps the most important component of ensuring a wound is properly dressed is improving patient comfort. Properly dressed wounds need to be changed less frequently, reduce the risk of uncomfortable complications, and allow the patient to perform more physical activities.
Insecure wound dressings can affect healing times, rates of infection, and the comfort level of the patient. That’s why it’s extremely important that caregivers implement best practices and choose the right products when dressing wounds. By following the guidelines below, it is possible to reduce costs and improve outcomes for patients.
3 Steps to Effective Wound Dressing Application
In order to ensure a secure dressing that encourages rapid wound healing, it is necessary to follow three basic guidelines:
1. Assess the Wound: Wound assessment is arguably the most important component of proper and secure dressing. Health care professionals should assess several components, including:
- The location of the wound: Is it in a difficult to dress areas, such as joints, sacrum, or ears?
- The type of wound: Is it chronic or acute? How deep is the wound?
- The cause of the wound: Is the wound the result of a pressure injury, moisture-associated skin damage, or other condition? This can affect the type of dressing used, and other components of the dressing process.
- Complicating factors: These include pain levels, hydration, infections, or other important components that may affect how the wound is dressed.
Only once the wound has been assessed and a course of action has been decided on should the wound be dressed.
2. Choose the Right Dressing and Medical Adhesive: The results of the wound assessment will dictate the type and shape of the dressing. However it is always important to choose dressings and adhesives that are high quality, gentle, and secure. The best medical adhesives and dressings should be:
- Gentle: Some medical adhesives can irritate skin or cause discomfort when being removed. It’s important to choose a dressing that is comfortable for patients to minimize pain.
- Secure: In order to keep wounds moist, prevent infection, and maximize time between dressing changes, it is important to use dressings and adhesives that stay in place. Good adhesives should also be waterproof, particularly in cases when patients are incontinent or physically active and subject to excess perspiration.
- Rated highly by professionals: Not all dressings and adhesives perform equally well, and sometimes it can be difficult to determine which one will be most effective before using it. One of the best ways to find effective adhesives is by choosing a dressing that is rated highly by other industry professionals.
3. Properly Clean and Dress Wound: Once the wound has been assessed and the dressing and adhesive have been chosen, the health care provider can begin cleaning and dressing the wound. Cleaning and debriding the wound area is a necessary step to create the optimal environment for healing, prevent infection, and ensure the dressing stays secure. To help prevent infection and reduce patient discomfort, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory dressings should also be used.
How Choosing the Right Medical Adhesive Can Help
By framing dressings with an effective medical adhesive tape, clinicians can reduce the risk of peeling corners and create a longer lasting dressing that will stay on for the entirety of the prescribed time, increasing compliance and preventing wound contamination. Seek products that are gentle, yet provide extended wear time. Select the right adhesive format to match the wound type and location.
1. Fletcher J. Dressings: Cutting and Application Guide. Dressings: cutting and application guide. http://www.worldwidewounds.com/2007/may/Fletcher/Fletcher-Dressings-Cutt.... Accessed June 1, 2017.
2. Mudge E, Orsted H. Wound infection and pain management made easy. Wounds International. 2010;1(3).
3. Lindholm, C., Bergsten, A., Berglund, E. Chronic wounds and nursing care. Journal of Wound Care 1999; 8: 1, 5-10.
4. Registered Nurse RN Salary. Nurse Salary Guide. http://nursesalaryguide.net/registered-nurse-rn-salary/. Accessed June 1, 2017.
Case Studies for Ostomy/Wound Care. Case Studies for Ostomy/Wound Care.
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.