My Dressing Is Smarter Than Me!

Wound care practices are changing almost daily. How often have you gone into your patient's room to find wound care has placed another dressing you have no idea how to use properly?

Does it need to be absorbent? Have antibiotics? Is silver okay? Would you like a side of compression with that?

It can start to get a little ridiculous. To help make things simple, there are smart bandages in development. The article states it will include various layers for temperature, moisture, and infection monitoring; management of antibiotics if needed; among other components. There are so many great implications for this technology; particularly for those very complicated wounds that have multiple dressing changes that have to be adjusted almost every other day to respond to how the wound is healing. Given that the nurse may not always know what is going on with the dressing, let alone have a spare thirty to sixty minutes to dedicate to wound care, it seems a "no brainer" to have this kind of technology available.

It does raise some concerns of cost, patient perception, proper monitoring of wound healing.

The dressing components are supposedly inexpensive and some of the parts could be reusable. This is not just a question of cost for the patient or clinic, but the environment. Many of the individual wrappings of medical supplies and instruments are simply tossed and cannot be recycled due to their make up of impermeable materials and very nature of their construction. Would these materials have a cost on the environment? Many patients and clinicians are trying to be conscientious of environmental burden and may be adverse to a multi-layer dressing that will assuredly go to a landfill or other means of disposal that would impact the environment.

It is reassuring that some of the parts, specifically the electronic monitors would be reusable on other dressings to be placed.

The dressing has "wireless electronics to monitor sensor data and control drug release". While this is great, wounds still need a trained eye to evaluate the wound bed itself as nothing can replace the trained clinician assessing their patient. Plus, will it being wireless, the patient perception may be that no one is doing anything for them regarding their wound. For some interactions of patient care, how the patient perceives something can make or break your care interaction. If we are remote monitoring our patients' wounds with no orders to disturb the dressing, will be still be allowed or expected to check the wound bed for proper granulation or sloughing?

What do you think about an electrical smart dressing? Please comment and continue to monitor...

Smart Bandage Can Detect Infection, Deliver Targeted Treatment - Medscape - Jul 16, 2018.

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