Whether a dressing should be sterile or not depends on the setting. In a hospital, sterile dressings are required for patients with fresh wounds. In a home setting, sterile or non sterile dressings still carry a bacterial burden. However, the principles of infection control are the same whether the dressing is sterile or not. The risks of infection in the home setting are lower than those in a hospital.
A dressing is a compress or pad designed to cover a wound and prevent infection. Most commonly, a bandage holds a dressing in place. However, many self-adhesive dressings are available on the market that adhere to the wound. Moreover, using sterile dressings can prevent psychological stress associated with an injury. Generally, a dressing comes in sterile packets. It is important to open the packet with clean hands before applying the dressing. Also, don’t remove the dressing from the packet until it’s time to use it. For advice on Emergency First Aid Training Courses, consider www.tidaltraining.co.uk/emergency-first-aid-training-courses
When removing a dressing, the clinician must wear sterile gloves, and dispose of the old dressing in a dirty clinical waste bag. Then, they should perform a wound assessment to determine if the wound is infected or healing as it should be. Also, they should evaluate the wound colour, size, and inflammation and inform the treating doctor or senior charge nurse. In the event that the wound isn’t healing properly, the doctor or other healthcare professional can make a change in the patient’s care plan.
For the best possible chance of healing without complication, any dressings applied to open wounds should be sterile.