4 Types of Wound Dressings for Nurses

The healing of wounds is vital for a patient’s safety. To promote a quick and healthy healing process, the right dressings must be used. For many nurses, particularly those who work in diabetes, geriatrics, or care of the elderly areas, knowing how to properly dress a wound is a key part of the nursing role.

It can often be difficult for nurses to determine which types of dressings are the most suitable for their patients. There are hundreds of different wound dressings that are available to nurses nowadays.

Depending on the type, location, and severity of a wound, different dressings should be used to speed up the healing process. Although nurses are qualified to assess wounds and properly dressed them, every wound is unique and it is sometimes difficult to determine which dressing is the most suitable choice.

To make things a little simpler, here are four types of dressings that are commonly used by nurses to protect and heal wounds or sores.

Foam Dressings

Foam dressings, such as Mepilex Ag, are suitable for wounds with various degrees of severity. Nurses can use adhesive or non-adhesive dressings that are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

They are most commonly used for leaking wounds that emit strong, foul odors. The foam material absorbs any wound exudate and reduces odors.

Foam dressings speed up the healing process by reducing moisture in and around the wound. Usually, moisture promotes the growth of bacteria or fungi, so keeping the wound as dry as possible with clean foam dressings can reduce the risk of infection.

Hydrocolloid Dressings

For pressure ulcers or wounds that have been caused by burns, hydrocolloid dressings are a great option. The self-adhesive dressings promote a moist environment that can help this type of wound to heal.

Hydrocolloid dressings are comfortable to wear and they are unlikely to cause skin irritation, even in those with extra sensitive or dry skin.

The surface of the dressing contains certain polymers that form a smooth gel when mixed with moisture around the wound. The gel substance prevents infection and speeds up the healing process.

Cloth Dressings

Cloth dressings are used to dress open wounds or areas of injured skin, such as tears and cuts.

Usually, the cloth dressing comes in a large roll. Nurses can cut cloth dressings to a customized size and shape based on the wound they are dressings. There are also pre-made options that has been cut to a specific size and shape and can be directly applied to the wound.

Alginate Dressings

For wounds that secrete a lot of exudates, such as pressure ulcers, venous ulcers, and burn wounds, alginate dressings are an ideal option.

These dressings contain mesh fibers made out of seaweed and sodium. The mesh absorbs excess fluids to create a gel-like substance that promotes healthy healing and recovery.

If the wound is leaking excessively, the alginate dressing may need to be changed every couple of days to prevent infection. Otherwise, the wound may worsen and take longer to heal.

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