Understanding Nursing Procedure # 4: Wound and Skin Care

Wound and skin care is a very important part of nursing procedure in any health care setting. Wounds come in all sizes and forms, and each one offers unique challenges to infection prevention. Skin care is essential for all patients, but especially for those who are bedridden and run the risk of ulcers and sores.

Basic Nursing Procedure for Wound and Skin Care

When it comes to wound and skin care, there are a few basic caveats:

  • Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Watch the area closely for any signs of infection.
  • At the first sign of infection, take aggressive measures to control it.
  • Instruct the patient in ways they can help.

Nursing Tips for Skin Care

Good skin care can prevent more serious issues, such as bed sores or ulcers. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Swing into action at the first sign of redness or irritation. Wash and dry the area, then apply the appropriate lotion or gel. Try to keep the patient from resting on the irritated area.
  • If your patient cannot move by themselves, reposition them at least every two hours to prevent pressure wounds from developing.
  • Always use warm water, never hot or cold.
  • If incontinence is a problem, use moisture barriers to help prevent sores.
  • Help prevent wounds for diabetic patients by ensuring their blood sugar levels are within normal range.
  • When drying the skin after a bath, pay special attention to areas you might not normally consider, such as under the arms or between the toes.

Nursing Tips for Wound Care

Sometimes, the most basic nursing procedure is not enough. Don't be afraid to get creative. Check out these enterprising tips from seasoned nurses:

  • Have trouble irrigating a wound? Attach a flexible female catheter to the syringe. The tubing may get deeper into the wound than a traditional syringe, and it's flexible enough to reach all areas.
  • Warm the irrigation solution to help promote healing.
  • Creams with zinc oxide often work well for patients. Check with their physician first, however.
  • Always put your initials, date, and time on the final piece of gauze before you tape it down. This ensures that everyone knows when the dressing was changed.
  • Never use Betadine on healthy skin--it may kill any new cells that are trying to form.

Learn the Best Nursing Procedure

Nursing online degree programs often offer community message boards, and you might be surprised at the wealth of nursing procedure information you can find there. Turn to your seasoned colleagues for good nursing information on wound and skin care, and your patients may thank you.


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