Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) is an advanced wound care modality using a sponge with an occlusive dressing connected to a pump that creates a negative pressure environment to promote wound healing. NPWT has many indications and contraindications, and they should be discussed with the provider and interdisciplinary team before initiating or recommending treatment. Initially, a thorough history and physical examination should be completed, along with a review of prior treatments used for wound care, goals of wound care, underlying medical conditions, and allergies.
Because NPWT is an advanced wound therapy, it sometimes requires a bit more of a creative approach and some arts and crafts when applying it to achieve a seal, especially depending on the location of the wound. NPWT is typically used when more common treatment options have been exhausted or with larger, more complex wounds.
Here are some tips and tricks to achieve a seal on the first try and to best manage NPWT in general:
NPWT is an advanced wound therapy with many benefits when used appropriately. The clinician applying NPWT should possess the knowledge and skills to apply the dressing correctly and should provide follow-up and notify the care team of any issues. An interprofessional approach is best when managing complex wounds with advanced wound treatment modalities and often yields the most positive patient outcomes. A certified wound care nurse or specialist is a significant asset to the interprofessional team when managing patients with complex wound care needs and/or barriers to healing. The foregoing tips and tricks will hopefully make managing and applying NPWT a bit easier and more efficient.
Stay tuned for future topics related to NPWT, including connecting two wounds to one pump (using a connecter approach vs. bridging) and wound and fistula management with NPWT.
About the Author
Holly is a board-certified gerontological nurse and advanced practice wound, ostomy, and continence nurse coordinator at The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She has a passion for education, teaching, and our veterans. Holly has been practicing in WOC nursing for approximately six years. She has much experience with the long-term care population and chronic wounds as well as pressure injuries, diabetic ulcers, venous and arterial wounds, surgical wounds, radiation dermatitis, and wounds requiring advanced wound therapy for healing. Holly enjoys teaching new nurses about wound care and, most importantly, pressure injury prevention. She enjoys working with each patient to come up with an individualized plan of care based on their needs and overall medical situation. She values the importance of taking an interprofessional approach with wound care and prevention overall, and involves each member of the health care team as much as possible. She also values the significance of the support of leadership within her facility and the overall impact of great teamwork for positive outcomes.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.