Changing a wound dressing properly is crucial to the healing process and helps prevent infection. Follow these 10 steps to ensure you are doing it correctly.
- Gather materials:
Before starting, make sure you have clean gloves, a new dressing, adhesive strips or tape, saline solution or water for rinsing, and any necessary topical ointments or medications.
- Wash your hands:
Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water to reduce the risk of infecting the wound with bacteria from your hands.
- Put on gloves:
Wear disposable gloves when handling any wound to protect both yourself and the patient from infections.
- Gently remove the old dressing:
Carefully peel off the adhesive strips or tape securing the old dressing. If it is too painful or difficult to remove, you can moisten it with saline solution or water to loosen any dried-up blood or discharge.
- Examine the wound:
Look closely at the wound for any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus or increased pain. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a healthcare professional for further guidance.
- Clean the wound:
Gently clean around the wound using a saline solution or water and sterile gauze pads. Pat dry with fresh gauze pads when finished. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing the area as this may cause irritation or delay healing.
- Apply medication if required:
If prescribed by a healthcare professional, apply any ointments or medications directly onto the wound following their instructions.
- Place the new dressing:
Cover the wound with a fresh dressing that is large enough to completely cover it and secure in place using adhesive strips or tape.
- Dispose of used materials:
Remove your gloves and dispose of them along with the old dressing in a sealed plastic bag before throwing them away in an appropriate waste bin.
- Wash your hands again:
Lastly, wash your hands with soap and water to remove any bacteria or contaminants picked up during the dressing change.
By following these steps, you will minimize the risk of infection and ensure the wound heals in the best possible conditions. Remember always to consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns about a wound or its healing process.