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We are now going to do a little bit of an overview of different dressings that we can use when we have bleeds. On the left-hand side, we have got the normal first aid kit type of dressings and on the right-hand side, we have got the more complex, more in-depth trauma dressings bleed control kits. All of them have important points that we need to pick up. The first thing is the dates. They will all be date-stamped. Modern dressings, unlike old fashioned dressings, are now made of a material that breaks down over time. It is non-stick, it is sterile, so the packaging has to be intact and the date needs to be in date because that's showing us that this unit, this actual dressing is fit for purpose. If it is out of date, it should be taken out of the first aid kit or taken out of your medical bag and discarded, used for training purposes, but it shouldn't be used on patients. Another important thing is that the packaging itself is all intact. There are no holes, there are no rips. We have not picked this one and decided we will not bother, we will use a different one and half-opened it.

Because as soon as the package opens, the sterile contents are now contaminated. So we need to make sure that the packaging is intact. And that goes for all dressings. Quite a lot of the big military-type dressings or trauma type dressings are packaged vacuum-packed. Which you can clearly see, it sucks all of the air outside of the packaging and allows the packaging to stay sterile. Once the packaging is opened, air is allowed in and contamination takes place of the dressing. The next thing is how we actually open and how we use the dressing. So we use a thing called aseptic techniques, gloves first to protect us or put a barrier between us and dressing. We then open the packet by ripping the packet open, we then take the dressing out and we hold the outside of the dressing. The most important part of any dressing is the face side that is going to go onto the wound itself. We are never going to touch that, even though we have got gloves on, we are never going to touch that. So we find the end of the bandage, we then gradually begin slowly to roll the bandage. If at any point we drop it on the floor, it falls off our hands onto the deck, it is then discarded. It is contaminated, it should not be used and a new fresh dressing you should be taken out of the packaging.

Once we get the dressing start to appear, we carry on rolling until the dressing itself falls open. The extra bandage, and you will notice there is a lot more bandage on one side than there is on the other. The dressing itself is sterile, so I am never going to touch that side but I can touch the backside of the dressing. So the dressing must be touched only on the rear side of the dressing, never the face side because it is contaminated. So we will flick the dressing so it opens. The dressing then will be placed over the wound and the rest of the bandage will then tightly and neatly put pressure over the top of the dressing to absorb bleeding and form a clot. And the part of the reason that these dressings have a nice non-stick surface is so that clotting is helped to slow the bleeding down. This is a normal size four ambulance dressing. You will see in another one of the videos that we have produced the amount of blood that these dressings will hold and we have demonstrated how effective they hold blood but also their limitations. If we look at the battlefield dressings, they will hold an awful lot more blood, have an awful lot more bandage and they are normally elasticated to create pressure into the center of the wound itself. Because as you are already aware, the pressure is crucial when we dress a wound.

  • IPOSi Unit three LO3.1, 3.2, 3.3 & 3.4