Wound Care Dressings: Hydrogel Dressings

In our day to day practices of wound care we deal with many types of wound care dressings. Today we will focus on Hydrogel Dressings.

NDM-409020-si

Description A three-dimensional network of hydrophilic polymers containing varying percentages of water, that bind great volumes of liquid due to the presence of hydrophilic residues. Hydrophilic properties enable them to absorb excess exudate while producing a moist wound environment. Formulations may vary, either glycerin based or contain 90% water in a gel base.  They are available in a sheets, gel, sprays, impregnated gauze or packing strips.

Function They provide for moist wound healing, autolytic debridement and are able to absorb a minimal amount of fluid. Hydrogels add moisture to the wound bed, are non-adherent and assist with pain relief when applied cold.

Hydrogel

When to Use:

  • Partial and full thickness wounds that are dry or moist
  • Granulating wounds

  • Abrasions, partial thickness burns
  • Skin reactions to radiation
  • Necrotic wound and wounds covered with eschar

Contraindications

  • Full thickness burns
  • Moderate to highly draining wounds

Advantages

  • Cooling and soothing
  • May be used on infected wounds.
  • Provides hydration of eschar and nonviable tissue to promote debridement.
  • Facilitates wound repair and epithelialization.

Disadvantages

  • Gel sheets: Must be cut to exact size of wound to prevent maceration of surrounding tissue.
  • Requires a secondary dressing cover.
  • Dehydrate if not covered.

Reminders

  • Care must be taken to avoid macerating surrounding skin.
  • Utilize for light to moderate absorption.
  • Clean wound between dressing changes with normal saline or per manufacturers recommendations.
  • Dressing changes every 1-4 days as needed.
  • For Radiation burns: Dressing may be stored in refrigerator and applied to wound cold, to provide soothing and pain reduction

As health care workers and wound care professionals we encounter patients with wounds. It is pertinent that we remain aware of the types of dressings available to us and their indications as well as contraindications for use. If you would like more information on how to use these dressings, consider becoming Wound Care Certified. Check out WCEI’s Course Info here

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