Best Practices for Wound Dressing & Wound Assessment

Wound care is a complicated task involving many factors to consider and can be confusing even for medical professionals. Good preliminary care can significantly help the healing process which is why it is beneficial to take measures that could be favorable to repair. In this article, we have compiled all the necessary steps and Best Practices for Wound Dressing, one must take to understand the state of an injury better and provide effective care.

Assessment of Wound

Before starting dressing, it is essential to assess the wound to be able to properly determine the best practice for treating it. It can also indicate whether the wound could be dressed at home using first aid or if professional intervention is required.

Type of wound:

The first step in Best Practices for Wound Dressing is to identify the type of wound being treated. Abrasions are scrapes caused by friction against a hard surface and must be cleaned thoroughly to avoid infections. Lacerations are deep cuts or tearing of the skin and may involve large amounts of bleeding, which needs to be stopped before dressing.

A puncture wound usually doesn’t involve a lot of bleeding except in extreme cases but could be deep and cause damage to organs. It needs to be treated with infection prevention in mind. An avulsion, usually caused by violent accidents, is a partial or complete tearing away of skin and the tissue beneath. It involves a lot of blood loss and should be treated by medical professionals. A tetanus shot is crucial in most cases (particularly in puncture wounds) to prevent infection.

Type of tissue:

After the type of wound is identified, the type of tissue of the wound needs to be discerned. Different tissue types would require different interventions. Necrotic tissue (black-colored dead skin cells) can hinder healing and is best removed before dressing the wound which could require the involvement of a surgical procedure. Infected tissue needs to be drained or removed if needed, and antibiotics need to be prescribed to combat the infection. Granulation tissue requires management of exudate according to its type (granulation, hyper granulation, poor-quality granulation). Epithelium requires protection and can be damaged by excess moisture so moisture must be drained.

Wound exudate:

Derived from the word exude, exudate is fluid that oozes out of the skin as an inflammatory response to a break in the skin. This fluid could be ideal in certain cases as a moist environment helps with wound healing. However, in excess or in the presence of an infection, this exudate can also hinder the healing process. It is important to reach a balance during the cleaning of the exudate.

For example, for scrapes or small cuts, cleaning the exudate might not even be necessary but in the case of lacerations or ulcers, it is important to combat the infectious properties of the exudate to allow for repair. Characteristics to examine are color, odor, volume, and viscosity. A thin amber fluid in low quantities would contain nutrients that aid healing, but varied conditions may indicate the need for treatment. Depending upon the state of the exudate (e.g., in the presence of pus), one may need medical assistance.

Peri-wound condition:

Peri-wound refers to the area around the wound. The condition of the skin surrounding the wound can provide insight into the healing state of the wound. A wound that is too dry or too moist, can hinder the healing process. It is essential to reach a balance in moisture for optimum care. In cases with wounds with a lot of moisture, the skin around the wound could become macerated and prone to breakdown, increasing the wound size in extreme cases. Therefore, it is necessary to combat the extra moisture using sealants and moisture barriers. Tissue conditions aforementioned in the article must be treated as well.

Pain level:

Note the level of pain and how often it is felt. The pain may be felt with contact, intermittently or constantly. Frequent observation can hint towards the rate of healing and whether medical intervention is needed.


Observe the length, width, and depth of the wound. This will help determine the severity of the injury. In cases of small superficial injuries, treatment at home could be possible. However, for deeper wounds with special tissue conditions or infections, and for injuries of young children, consulting a medical professional is recommended.

Best Practices for Wound Dressing & Cleaning of Wound

Cleaning and disinfecting the wound is an essential step to curb infections, subsequently ensuring a speedy recovery. All dirt and contamination must be removed by thoroughly washing the wound and disinfecting it. Pressure should be applied, and the wound elevated to control bleeding and swelling if necessary.

If an excess of moisture is present, the wound will need to be drained to prevent maceration. Cleaning is often performed using sterile gauze doused in antiseptics or disinfectants to carefully wipe away all contamination from the wound site. Once the wound has been cleaned and drained, it is prepped for applying the best practices for wound dressing to heal faster and effectively.

Choosing Dressing for Best Practices for Wound Dressing

The choice of dressing will depend upon the amount of moisture present on the wound and any medicinal application needed for treatment based on the previous assessment. This choice will vary case by case and is often dependent upon the personal experience and expertise of the medical professional. 

The most commonly used dressing is different forms of gauze-like gauze bandage rolls, gauze pads, strips, etc. for best practices for wound dressings since they can be easily found in first-aid kits or bought over the counter. They are one of the oldest medical materials and have been used for centuries, making them universally known in the profession. However, one should dress for small superficial wounds at home. For most wounds, particularly severe injuries, it is advisable to contact a medical professional to discuss the condition and can ask for recommended best practices for wound dressing for wound care at home.

Regular Follow-up

Frequent check-ups to monitor the progress of the healing process need to be made. These follow-up sessions would consist of applying the fresh dressing, checking for and dealing with possible changes to the wound (like infections or necrotic tissue formation), and pain monitoring and management.

Ample rest should be taken to aid the speedy recovery of the wound. To manage the accompanying pain painkillers can be taken however, products with aspirin should be avoided since they can cause or prolong bleeding. Ice can be applied to reduce swelling, sun protection is used for outdoor activities, and scabs should not be picked at. Consistent care with best practices for wound dressing and good hygiene practices can speed up recovery times.

In conclusion, initial assessment and consistent care are just as essential for wound treatment as choosing the Best Practices for Wound Dressing. Depending upon the nature of the injury, treatment may be possible at home however, medical assistance is preferred in most cases. Specifically, in extreme cases like severe injury, excessive bleeding, major accidents, and injuries in children, it is best to seek the advice of a relevant medical professional so an informed decision regarding treatment may be made.

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