Physician Wound Care
August 29, 2014
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September 5, 2014
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Characteristics of a Good Dressing

The characteristics of a good dressing include the following:

  • Professional appearance
  • Stationary at rest and allow for movement of the joints
  • Functional
  • Allow for medicinal application
  • Layered
  • Provide firmness
  • Applied from distal to proximal

The first impression others will have about a dressing is it’s appearance. What would a reaction be to a dressing that is not neat, if it is overly bulky, if it is irregularly layered, or if inconsistent pressure and tension exists between the wraps? For most healthcare professionals and patients this would indicate that the quality of both the dressing and the care would be suspect. In order to achieve an effective dressing, the first thing to consider is that it stays in place and doesn’t fall off easily. Next, the dressing must be functional, in other words it is part of a layered defense. If you can see through the dressing then there are not enough layers. There are two parts of a dressing: the internal and external dressing. All dressings are applied in layers. If the wound is visible through the dressing the the external environment and bacteria can easily access the wound. Layering provides multiple obstacles that bacteria must overcome to cause further problems such as infections. The dressing should be firm and in contact with the wound, but not so tight as to restrict the flow of blood and cause swelling. In the case of patients with congestive heart failure a dressing can be applied to provide a degree of compression to reduce swelling problems. A dressing is typically applied distal to proximal, in other words it is applied starting furthest out from the torso such as the fingertips and toes and continues inwards towards the torso.