You’re out of surgery, and your doctor closed your incision with stitches, clips, staples or skin glue. However, your surgical wound won’t heal on its own. Without proper care and attention, you may suffer from additional pain, infection or scarring.
With that said, proper surgical wound care is vital at home for a speedy and healthy recovery. Patients should be aware of their role in the recovery process, including how to change their dressings.
Getting the timing right
Remember that the guru with the most accurate answers about your dressing is your doctor. Always follow your physicians’ instructions when changing your dressings. Not only is important to healing properly, but there are strict medical guidelines and parameters in place for wound care that must be followed.
When you’re ready to change your wound dressing, follow these steps:
1. Prepare to change the dressing
Always wash your hands before you go anywhere near the surgical wound. Make sure the surface you’re using is also clean, wiping it down with soap and water before setting down any of the wound care supplies.
2. Remove the old dressing
Wear medical gloves for extra protection, and then loosen the tape from your skin and remove the dressing. If it sticks to the wound, you can moisten it with saline and try to gently remove it again – as long as your doctor didn’t specify to keep the dressing dry. Put the old dressing and gloves in a plastic bag for proper disposal.
3. Care for the wound
When caring for your wound, it is vital that you follow your physician’s instructions, as proper healing procedures vary depending on the wound type and person. In general, always wash your hands and put on new gloves for this step. The Cleveland Clinic recommends a cleaning solution of either soapy or salt water and to refrain from skin cleansers, alcohol, peroxide, iodine or bacterial soap unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
4. Apply the new dressing
Again, make sure your hands and gloves are clean. If your doctor recommended using any prescription or antibiotic cream, apply it now. Next, place the fresh dressing over the wound, using extra caution not to touch the inside of it.
Making wound care at home easy
Advanced Tissue offers smart delivery of your wound care supplies, complete with video instructions and single-dose packs to make changing dressings a convenient and easy process. Learn more about smartPAC today.