Effective Wound Cleansing and Wound Dressing Vital for Speedy Healing and Recovery

The benefits of a wound EMR have been felt by nursing homes and wound care facilities. Its comprehensive documentation capabilities and easy record entry ensure that the wound is monitored at every stage. Its involvement begins right from the cleansing stage.

It may be quite a basic thing to do but wound cleansing seems to have lost a bit of focus, with increased attention being placed on dressing the wound and the choices available for it. But there would be no dressing without cleaning, and the latter needs to be performed professionally for the rest of the wound care solutions to have any effect.

Getting to Know Wound Cleansing

Cleansing involves removing freely floating or planktonic bacteria and loose debris that could all interfere with the healing process.  It helps protect the wound to create an environment conducive to healing, and also creates a better visualization possibility of the wound which is important for assessing it before the treatment. The cleansing process, unless otherwise indicated, must be done each time a dressing is changed.

It is important to select the right cleansing agent for the task, and there are quite a few choices. For starters the normal saline solution you easily find could work well since it is does not, in any way, inhibit or interfere with the regular healing process of the body, being an isotonic solution. It is available almost anywhere in various forms and is also cost-effective.

Commercial Cleansers

There are also commercial cleansers around, such as moisturizers, surfactants, antimicrobials and wetting agents:

  • Surfactants help in removing wound contaminants thanks to each molecule containing a hydrophilic head having an affinity to water molecules and a hydrophobic tail repealing water while getting attached to oil, grease or other contaminants.
  • Make sure you never use skin cleansers since they are more powerful than usual wound cleansers and must therefore not be brought into contact with open wounds.
  • Lactated Ringer’s solution contains potassium, sodium, and calcium chloride which help clean the wound without damaging viable cells. The solution must not be allowed to remain inside the cavities of the body during continuous irrigation since it should be prevented from entering the bloodstream.

If you don’t have any of these with you, you have to clean with good old drinkable tap water. However, if the wound has exposed tendon or bone it is better to use the usual saline solution rather than water.

You can apply saline solution with a saline bullet by positioning the patient in a manner in which the cleansing solution will flow from the top of the wound to its lower end by gravity. After twisting off the top from the container, apply firm pressure so you get the required flow rate. After the application you must remove the excess moisture with a gauze pad. Ensure that the surrounding skin has dried.

Spray Cleanser or Manual Application

The cleansing solution can be applied manually or through a spray cleanser:

  • Spray cleansers can be applied directly to the wound, or you could spray them onto gauze pads before applying them.
  • Make sure you have your PPE (personal protective equipment) on – gloves, mask and eye shield, and gown during irrigation which includes pressure releasing the fluid, spraying and squirting.
  • Cover or remove other supplies or equipment in the vicinity to protect from the spray aerosolization.
  • Ensure you hold the bottle at least 1 inch from the wound bed before spraying.
  • Use the clean gauze pad to remove excess moisture and dry the surrounding skin.

You can also clean the wound manually. For an incision or linear wound, wipe from the top to the bottom using gauze pads moistened with the irrigation solution. For an open wound, wipe in a half or full circle, starting at the center and moving toward the outside. For each stroke of cleaning, a new gauze pad is required.

Efficient wound cleansing and wound dressing are vital when it comes to speedy healing and recovery for the patient. Documentation is also of prime importance. With an efficient wound EMR solution, the documentation can be carried out more efficiently and the right treatment option advised.