Smart Wound Dressings

Many wound dressings fall into standard categories; foams,  hydrogels, and hydrocolloids for example. Although different dressings within these categories have slightly different features, all dressings within a category offer broadly similar properties. These dressings can all be placed on a continuum of occlusion ranging from gauze dressing at the least occlusive end to latex at the most occlusive. On the other hand, there are a number of dressings which cannot so easily be slotted in to a particular category, and these need to be considered on their own merits.

Miscellaneous Wound Dressings

Miscellaneous types of dressings and smart wound dressings that do not fall within the continuum of wound dressings include antimicrobials, charcoal dressings, wound fillers, polyacrylates and honey-based dressings. These offer properties that have can have a specific role in particular wounds at certain stages of wound healing.

Antimicrobials tend to be silver-based or offer some form of slow-release antimicrobial agent. These tend to be used in wounds with a high bioburden or infected wounds, and should be used until the bioburden is under control and the normal wound healing processes are restored. The key function of charcoal dressings is not to enhance wound healing rates but to control odor by absorbing the odor-producing gases released by bacteria. Wound fillers are specialized primary dressings used to fill deeper wounds that can add or absorb moisture from the wound bed. Polyacrylates, activated through contact with Ringer’s solution, are a convenient type of dressing that may be used as a form of debridement in all types of wound. Honey dressings are currently attracting considerable interest for their potentially wide range of properties, including an antibacterial, deodorizing, anti-inflammatory, and debriding action. They also appear to offer some pain relief to the patient. However, further clinical research is needed to confirm the more anecdotal evidence for the benefits of honey-based dressings.

To refresh you knowledge about the different types of dressing available to the wound care practitioner, consider training for a certification in wound care. A wound care certification allows you to study areas of wound management in more depth and demonstrates your commitment to the discipline.

Learn More With Our Wound Care Education Options

Interested in learning more about wound care and certification? Browse through our wound care certification courses for information on our comprehensive range of education options to suit healthcare professionals across the full spectrum of qualifications and experience.


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  2. Hess CT. QUICK TIPS: Choosing a Wound Dressing. Adv Skin & Wound Care. 2005;18(2):70-72
  3. Myers BA. Wound management principles and practice. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson; 2008.
  4. Loehne H. Managing Bacterial Burden with Silver Dressings Adv in Skin & Wound Care. 2009; 22(1):5-8.
  5. Toy LW, Macera L. Evidence-based review of silver dressing use on chronic wounds. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2011;23(4):183-92.
  6. Langemo, DK, Hanson D, Anderson J et al. Use of Honey for Wound Healing. Advances in Skin & Wound Care. 2009; 22(3):113-118.

One Comment

  1. Dear Theresa

    Thank you for your comments, and congratulations on completing the course. You should now be in a great position to do well in your certification exams. I suggest you spend the time until the exams going through the study key terms and the flashcard tool. Also, make sure that you complete all module checkpoint quizzes and tests as well as the overall course test. If you would like to run through more questions and answers, these can be found at the end of each book and most of the articles.

    We wish you every success in your exams.

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