It can be difficult to attain consensus on the application of aseptic technique when performing wound dressings. Did you know that Wounds Australia has released a consensus document title Application of aseptic technique in wound dressing procedure? The Nurses for Nurses Network has a good webinar on the subject! Click here to see more>>
Did you know that the terms ‘sterile technique’ and ‘clean technique’ are ‘no longer supported, and aseptic procedures are described and performed according to the principles of surgical or standard aseptic technique’?
What is a Surgical Aseptic Technique in reference to wound dressings?
Surgical Aseptic Technique (Complex Procedure):
- Required for technically complex procedures (involving large open key sites or large or numerous key parts) and longer procedures. Sterile gloves and sterile equipment are required and a critical aseptic field is used.
- A non-touch technique is used wherever possible.
- In the context of wound dressing procedure, this might include direct contact with the wound, exposure of the wound for over 20 minutes, and packing of wound surfaces unable to be visualised.
What is a Standard Aseptic Technique in reference to wound dressings?
Standard Aseptic Technique (Simple Procedure):
- Required for technically simple procedures (involves relatively few and small key sites and key parts) which are
short in duration (less than 20 minutes of wound exposure).
- Performed using non-sterile gloves, using a general aseptic field and non-touch technique.
- Most standard wound dressing procedures will be suitable for this technique
To support conducting a wound dressing procedure appropriately Nurses need to take into account the following:
• Consider risks—select standard or surgical aseptic technique according to the technical difficulty of the procedure, wound complexity and patient and environmental characteristics
• Manage the environment—avoid or remove actual or potential contamination risks
• Decontaminate and protect—perform hand hygiene, wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), clean and disinfect
• Use selected aseptic fields—use general, critical and micro-critical fields to protect key parts and key sites
• Perform the procedure in a logical sequence
• Use non-touch technique—only key parts come into contact with other key parts or key sites
• Prevent cross infection—use standard precautions including hand hygiene, store or dispose of equipment appropriately, use single-use items when necessary and practice safe waste disposal.
The type of aseptic wound technique chosen should be based on the outcomes of the risk assessment and with acknowledgement of any of the following:
- Patients health risk factors
- Wound characteristics
- Access to wound care products and the ability to store the products and equipment appropriately
- The complexity of the wound dressing procedure
- Environmental factors – cleanliness etc
- Adherence to your organisational policies and procedures
Nurses play a critical role in supporting the early identification of wounds which are at risk by completing accurate and timely assessments and communicating with relevant health professionals.
We have created a good info sheet that you can download which identifies the differences between surgical and standard aseptic techniques.
The Nurses for Nurses Network provides great information and CPD on an array of nursing topics including wound care in a range of easy learning ways including webinars and quizzes on the latest information that Nurses need to know – remember the Nurses for Nurses Network was created by Australian Nurses for Nurses! www.nursesfornurses.com.au