[Fr. dresser, to prepare]
A protective or supportive covering for diseased or injured parts.
The procedure and expected sensations are explained to the patient. His or her privacy is ensured, and necessary supplies are assembled. Strict aseptic technique is followed during dressing changes, and dressings must be properly disposed of in biohazard containers. Personnel must wash their hands before and after the procedure. The wound or incision and dressing are assessed for the presence and character of any drainage. The mnemonic COCA (color, odor, consistency, amount) is useful in assessing and documenting drainage. The condition of the wound or suture line is also checked, and the presence of erythema or edema is noted. Instruction in wound assessment and dressing change techniques is provided to the patient and his or her family members.
SEE: wound care
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