What Types of Wound Dressing can be Used on Bed Sores?

By Nursing Home Law Center


In order for bed sores to heal, attention must be paid to the removing dead tissue and protecting the wound from infection causing bacteria. Dressings are usually applied to help the body heal itself. The type of dressing and the frequency with which it is to be changed is ordered by a physician with the application and changes carried out by nurses.

Many patients with bed sores (similarly referred to as: pressure sores, pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers) suffer additional harm when the staff responsible for caring for them fails to follow medical orders with respect to the frequency with which dressings are to be changed. If dressings are not changed according to orders set forth by a physician, the healing of the bed sores may be delayed — and perhaps become infected.

The most commonly used dressings used to treat bed sores include:

Absorptive Dressings: These dressings are either applied directly to the wound or on top of other primary dressings. Absorptive dressings are intended to remove the drainage from the bed sore that may impede healing. Most absorptive dressings are changed on a daily basis. However, excessive drainage from a bed sore may require more frequent dressing changes.

Common types of Absorptive dressings include: Medipore, Silon Dual Dress, Aquacel Hyrofiber Combiderm, Absorbtive Border, Multipad Soforb, Iodoflex, Tielle, Telefamax, Tendersorb, Mepore and Exu-dry.

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Alginates: Alginates are dressings made from fibers either completely or partially made from seaweed or algae. Alginates absorb drainage from a bed sore and form a gel-type barrier over the wound that ensures a moist environment to assist in healing wounds. Alginates are commonly used in treating deep bed sores as they allow wounds to heal even with dressings in the wound.

Common types of Alginates include: Algicell, Algisite, Carrasorb, Curasorb, Dermacea, Dermaginate, fybron, Gentell, Kaltostat, Kalginate, Maxorb, Silvercell, Sorbsan, Seasorb, Tegagen

Antimocrobials: In wound care, antimocribials refer to dressings that contain antibacterial products or antibacterial creams used to reduce or kill bacteria in bed sores. Before using antimocrobials, a physician must first determine the if the bed sore is infected. A bed sore can be tested for infection by doing a culture. In some circumstances where a patient may be particularly at risk for developing an infection, a physician may prescribe antimocrobials as a preventative measure.

Common types of Antimicrobials include: Tegaderm, Amerigel, Anasept, Silverton, Contreet, Aquacel, Silverderm, Algidex, Colactive, Kerlix, Tefla, Arglase, Maxorb, Optifoam, Acticoat.

Hydrocolloids / Hydrogels: Hydrocolloid dressings have gel-like properties and absorb fluids from the wound. Because hydrocolloid dressings form a moisture-proof barrier they frequently used with incontinent patients as they can keep urine and feces out of the healing wounds. Hydrocolloids should be used in un-infected bed sores. A physician should determine the frequency with which a hydrogel dressing should be changed. Generally hydrogel dressings are changed from 2 to 7 times per week.

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Common types of Hydrocolloid / Hydrogel dressings include: Tegagel, Biolex, Carrasorb, Purilon, Repair Hydrogel, Dermasyn, Dermagran, Curasol, Restore, Nu-gel, Curafil, Skintegrity, Panoplex.

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