As the caregiver for your aging loved one, you might be asked to help her recover from a wound she has sustained through an accident or surgery. Once your loved one is ready to be released from the hospital, she may need some continued assistance to ensure her wound heals properly, with no undue side effects.
It can seem a little daunting to be responsible for such an important task, but the doctor and nurses will give you plenty of instructions about how to help your loved one heal. You can also look into hiring a skilled nursing care provider to come to the home to assist in the process. But sometimes, the skilled nursing care provider cannot come every day, so you will need to know the basics for wound cleaning.
Here are some basic steps to help you along the process. However, always follow the doctor’s orders exactly, and do not hesitate to contact your loved one’s doctor if something doesn’t look or feel right.
- Make sure you have your supplies. You should receive a list of what you’ll need, but common items you should have on hand are saline solution for cleaning the wound, sterile gauze and dressing, tape, topical ointments and antibiotics, scissors, and finally, gloves for you to wear during the process.
- Keep all supplies together in one place. This will help you find them without interruption. It’ll help you keep track of what you have on hand, so you don’t run out in the middle of a dressing.
- Before you begin, wash your hands. Wash your hands (and arms) for a minute before beginning, even though you’ll be wearing gloves. You want them completely washed and dried before handling any of the wound dressing items.
- Wear your gloves. If your loved one has an open cut, wound, or burn, you need to wear sterile gloves. Germs can hide in many areas, so even a good scrubbing may have missed something.
- Remove the old dressing. Using the saline on the tape often makes it less painful to remove the tape when
taped to your loved one’s skin.
- Inspect the wound. Look for any signs of infection, whether by sight or smell. A skilled nursing care provider can help you observe the wound for any sign of infection.
- Clean the wound. This can be difficult if you fear causing discomfort for your loved one during this process. Be gentle and patient with your loved one as you give her wound the care it needs. Once cleaned, let it completely dry before you redress the wound.
- Redress the wound. If the doctor has prescribed an antibiotic ointment, cover the wound in ointment and then dress it securely.
With good care and hygiene, your loved one’s wound should begin to show healing. Always contact the doctor immediately if you see something that doesn’t look right.