Addressing Procedural Wound Pain with a Silicone Dressing

Last month’s blog started the discussion about procedural pain, which includes wound dressing changes. This month, I want to discuss how silicone dressings are often used as a specific intervention for dressing change pain.

Wound dressing change pain intervention

As a review, I have listed the effects dressing changes may have on the wound and the patient:

  • Pain, in regards physical and psychological effects (read: quality of life).

  • Skin stripping changes the skin integrity and increases the risk of infection.

  • Regression of the wound (e.g., increased size, tissue loss).

  • Delayed healing due to the disruption of the granulation or re-epithelialization process.

  • Cost increases due to the prolonged healing process, treatment of infection or use of analgesics.

My question to you is: What have you tried in your practice to address the issues above?

We all know that pain is the fifth vital sign. Addressing procedural wound pain with a silicone dressing can help reduce the pain associated with dressing changes and make the healing process a better experience of patient and caregiver.

And as you probably know, accurate wound and pain assessment along with the correct dressing/product choice can reduce or eliminate the pain/trauma created with wound dressing changes. Have you considered adding silicone-based adhesive dressings to your formulary to help eliminate or reduce some or all of the challenges of wound dressing changes stated above? Or have you perhaps tried silicone as a contact layer, foam dressing or gel sheet?

Understanding Silicone Wound Dressings and Usages

A silicone dressing is a dressing coated with soft silicone as an adhesive or a wound contact layer. Soft silicones are soft and tacky and enable them to adhere to dry surfaces. Properties of silicone are such that they may be removed without causing trauma to the wound or the surrounding skin—thus, the term “atraumatic” is often used to describe dressing with silicone adhesives.

Consider using silicone dressings for:

  • Donor sites

  • First- and second-degree burns

  • Neuropathic ulcer

  • Painful shallow wounds

  • Pressure ulcers

  • Prevention of trauma to fragile skin

  • Surgical incisions and excisions

  • Venous, arterial, and diabetic ulcers

  • Wounds requiring frequent dressing changes

  • Wounds with decreasing exudate that may dry between dressing changes

In the last five years, there have been numerous studies published on the beneficial outcomes of using silicone contact layers and silicone foam. It is no longer a new concept and one that is typically not given a separate category in formularies. I’m delighted to see that more companies like MediPurpose™ are now offering clinically effective options of silicone-based dressings that will also make it more affordable to have as part of the routine formulary.

Next month, I’ll discuss maximizing the formulary to include prevention. Until then, please share your experiences and successes using silicone foam dressings!

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