Caring for Post-Operative Wounds with Compassion

| Last updated on November 3, 2023

Post-operative wound care starts in the operating room and continues all the way through to how patients manage their incisions at home. 

From hospital to home it’s critical patients have the right incision care education and dressings to support the undisturbed healing of their post-operative wounds. 

Preventing infections and finding comfort after surgery are both important to a patient’s healing journey, yet post-operative dressing changes and frequent incision checks can lead to pain and sometimes even emotional trauma. 

Caring for post-operative wounds with compassion can be simple  if the surgical team has the right perioperative dressings at hand. 

The benefits of compassion on patient outcomes are impossible to ignore – an empathetic approach to patient care can result in significant improvements to patient health outcomes. 

And, this compassion can extend right through to dressing technology and function: supporting both patients and nurses in experiencing compassionate post-operative wound care. 

So what exactly are “compassionate surgical dressings?” And what difference can they make to the patient care experience?

Read on to find out.

In this article we discuss: 

  • Post-operative wound care
  • Acrylic post-operative surgical dressings
  • Compassionate post-operative surgical dressings
  • The benefits of compassionate surgical dressings 

Post-operative wound care

Typically, following a surgical procedure several steps are taken in order to care for incisions and post-operative wounds.

At a high level, these steps include: 

  • Surgical sites are cleaned 
  • Surgical dressings are applied to keep the area protected
  • Pain is managed through medication and/or other treatment
  • The site is monitored closely for signs of infection

The primary goal post-operation is to facilitate healing while preventing surgical site infections. 

In order to protect wounds from infection, sterile surgical site dressings are relied upon to seal the wound – however, the type of surgical dressing used can have an impact on patient pain and outcomes. 

Acrylic post-operative surgical dressings

Traditional acrylic surgical site dressings need to be changed frequently, especially when the dressing becomes wet with blood or any other liquid.

These dressings also do not provide surgical site visibility, requiring healthcare providers to change dressings in order to inspect surgical sites for inflammation or irritation that may indicate the onset of infection. 

With traditional acrylic dressings, these dressing changes can cause unintended trauma to fragile skin. Acrylic dressings become more sticky over time, which can cause significant trauma to the skin when removed on patients with medical conditions that result in sensitive skin. 

Sticky acrylic adhesives can have their benefits – but they are not the most gentle surgical dressing available to the medical community. 

Compassionate post-operative surgical dressings

Surgical incision complications can leave a lasting mark. 

But the right gentle dressings do not only minimize pain while healing, but also help to prevent medical adhesive related skin injury. 

Compassionate surgical dressings are designed with compassionate patient-centered care in mind. 

They are dressings that are formulated to be gentle on tender skin, minimize pain upon removal and are transparent to reduce the number of dressing changes required. 

Silicone surgical dressings, like Covalon’s SurgiClear, are designed with this compassion centered focus in mind. Features include:

  • Site transparency
    • Transparent surgical dressings allow medical professionals to assess healing without having to repeatedly remove adhesives from tender, healing surgical sites.
  • Gentle formulation 
    • Silicone surgical dressings provide an atraumatic adhesive alternative to help stabilize tender skin and tissues recovering from a surgical process without pulling or tearing the skin upon removal. 
  • Liquid impermeable but breathable
    • Silicone dressings are water and liquid resistant to protect wound sites from bodily fluids or external contaminants that may expose the wound to germs, while still allowing the underlying site to breath
  • Antimicrobial 
    • Surgical dressings that protect wounds from infection-causing germs are antimicrobial. 
    • Covalon’s medical technology provides the world’s only dual antimicrobial surgical dressing. 
    • This means double the protection against microorganisms that may put patient lives at risk. 

When working with vulnerable populations in particular, medical devices need to prioritize both human comfort and healing while protecting against infection. 

This is why Covalon is trusted by 9 of the top 10 U.S. children’s hospitals for cancer treatment to provide the highest standard of infection prevention care for the country’s most vulnerable patient populations. 

The benefits of compassionate wound care 

Patients describe compassionate health care as:

  • Listening and paying attention 
  • Following-up with patient concerns and running tests
  • Continuity of care and holistic care
  • Respecting patient preferences
  • Genuine understanding 
  • Body language and empathy 
  • Counseling and advocacy 

When it comes to building trust and engaging patients, bedside manner matters.

Yet the level of empathy a bedside nurse can offer becomes limited when they don’t have the right tools or technology to put compassionate care into practice. 

This is where putting compassionate dressings in the hands of nurses empowers healthcare providers to go beyond listening and empathy to providing tangible care that is more gentle and patient-centered. 

Compassionate wound care delivered with the right dressings can:

  • Alleviate pain and discomfort
  • Reduce the risks of infection
  • Increase patient satisfaction 
  • Promote faster healing times

Don’t wait to improve patient outcomes

From healing C-section scars to helping children with congenital heart conditions stay free and clear from surgical site infections, Covalon’s medical dressings are designed to provide gentle care to patients who want to heal with less trauma and pain. 

Covalon offers free samples to medical professionals who want to experience the difference between traditional medical devices, and our gentle, patient-centered dressings designed to improve patient outcomes, and make providing compassionate care easier. 

Request your free samples today to feel the difference between traditional care, and compassionate care. 

Resources

Washington Post: doctors who are kind have healthier patients who heal faster, according to new book 

National Health Service UK & Oxford University Hospitals Leaflet: Caring for surgical wounds at home

StatPearls: Wound dressings

DermNet: Silicone dressings

National Cancer Institution: Definition of terms: antimicrobial

Health Expectations: More than a feeling? What does compassion in health care ‘look like’ to patients? 

The Psychology of Patient Care: Why Bedside Manner Matters

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