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How To Change a Wound Dressing

How To Change a Wound Dressing

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How To Change a Wound Dressing...
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How To Change a Wound Dressing
step 1
Step 1:  Removing the dressing
Removing the dressing may be painful. The wound may have dried under the primary dressing, and it may be adhered. This tends to be the most painful procedure of the whole dressing change, and going slowly is important. We have found that moistening the dressing using just saline (contact lens solution) can often loosen the primary dressing from the wound bed and decreases the pain of dressing change. This is another reason why
we encourage dressings that keep the wound moist.

step 2
Step 2:  Cleaning the wound
The wound is cleaned only with normal saline.  Scientific studies have shown that soap and water and other common cleaning agents are very toxic to the body's natural processes for healing a wound. These soaps and other agents will kill the cells in the wound bed, and will wash away the biochemicals needed for wound repair.  It also dries the wound, making the wound more painful. Normal saline is sufficient for removing excess bacteria while maintaining the natural healing processes at the base of the wound.

step 3
Step 3:  Applying topical agents
In many chronic wounds, topical agents are used to change the environment of the wound bed. Many times, topical antibiotics or antiseptic agents are applied. This will decrease bacteria while allowing the natural healing processes to continue. If the wound is too dry, moisturizing agents such as saline gels may be added. If there is still necrotic tissue in the base of the wound, then mild enzymes can be added to assist the body in removing this dead tissue in allowing it to come out of the wound. The topicals are most often applied with a cotton tip applicator or a wooden applicator stick directly to the base of the wound. The base of the wound should be coated with about as much topical as icing on a cake.

step 4
Step 4:  Applying the primary dressing
The primary dressing is chosen to keep the wound moist, but not too wet. If the wound dries, it can become painful, and dressing change can be a very painful experience.  If the wound becomes too wet, this doesn't cause significant damage to the wound, but it is messier and can cause odor problems. Therefore, the primary dressing is chosen to keep a moist, clean wound bed.

Learn more techniques of wound debridement and wound care!

Step 5:  Applying the secondary dressing
The secondary dressing is chosen to fasten the primary dressing tightly to the body. This is to protect the wound from trauma and also to assist in any excessive drainage. Note: There is a process of learning when doing wound care. Initially, the dressing changes are quite difficult, but do become easier as both the patient and the caretaker become more familiar with the process.


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