Clean a Post-Surgical Wound at Home
Edited by Olivia, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn and 2 others
Upon discharge from a hospital, you or a loved one may have a surgical wound called an incision. This incision needs to be cleaned and dressed every day to promote healing and prevent infection.
Dressing and cleaning the wound will also provide the opportunity to assess the development of the wound - whether its healing or infected or worse, the wound could become dehiscent.
What are the Process Involved in Wound Healing?
- 3Wound MaturationThe whole process, from inflammation to maturation will take about 10 days to one year, depending on the complexity of the wound and the person's overall state of health.
Things you will need
Seeing the stitches may make you a bit wary of touching it, and more so of cleaning it. A nurse or a doctor can show you how to clean it on the day of your discharge, but you may not be up to the task of doing it. As such, here are some instructions on how to do it should you find someone who is up to the task to help you.
Arrange and prepare the materials that you will need. It will basically comprise the following:
- Cotton soaked in sterile water or cooled boiled water
- Syringe without the needle
- Sterile forceps or tweezers. To sterilize forceps or tweezers, bring a small amount of water in a pan to boil. Soak the forceps or tweezers in the water right after boiling. Carefully remove the instruments and place them in a clean, dry cloth cotton swab, soaked in povidone solution (or a solution prescribed by the physician)
- Dry gauze
- Adhesive plaster
- Trashbin/ Trash bag
Steps in Cleaning and Dressing A Surgical Wound
- 1Remove all jewelry from your hands then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.Take time to clean in between the fingers and the nails to ensure that you will not be introducing microorganisms to the instruments that you will be holding while dressing the person's wound.Advertisement
- 3The old wound dressing may be secured with adhesive tape.If it is not contraindicated to wet the area, apply a sterile-water soaked cotton ball to the tape. This will help loosen the tape's adhesive from the skin. As such, ease of removing the tape is facilitated without much discomfort to the person or patient.
- 4Very carefully remove the old dressing from the wound.If scab formation is already in process, do not try to remove the scab forcefully. You may also see the old dressing adhere to the wound because of dried drainage. Do not pull the dressing. Instead, get the syringe without the needle and aspirate sterile water. Direct the syringe with water to the wound where the dressing is adhered to the wound because of dried drainage. Push the plunger to release the water onto the wound to help loosen the dressing. Continue until the old dressing falls off.
- 5When you have removed the old dressing, inspect the wound for pus and unpleasant discharge.If the wound has pus or drainage, drain the pus first, using a dry cotton ball or gauze. If the wound seems to have opened up rather than start healing, notify the physician immediately.
- 6After the pus or other drainage has been dried out, clean the wound using cotton soaked in sterile water or cooled boiled water.If you do not have gloves, use the sterile forceps or tweezers. Clean the wound using the inner-to-outer principle, or from the cleanest to the dirtiest part.
- 8Dispose of the soiled dressings in an appropriately labeled trash bin or bag.Seal and dispose of properly to avoid transmission of infection.Advertisement
Not all surgical wounds are cleansed and dressed as in the mentioned steps above. There are some surgical wounds that that require attention from people with special training, instructions and materials. It is highly recommended that post-surgical wounds be dressed and cleansed according to proper instruction from a health care professional.
- If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
Categories : Health & Wellness
Recent edits by: Robbi, Lynn, Eng