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How do I Perform a Wound Assessment?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

You can go about performing a wound assessment by getting a good look at the wound in question, and taking note of a few important details. First, wounds are staged based on how deep the cut or puncture is, or the amount of discoloration if it is not an open wound. Stage one wounds are a mild scrape of the top layer of skin, with the worst wounds being those that are cut down into the muscle tissue or bone. You should also take note of the state the area is in. Take special care to note any odor, pus, or other drainage which may be present.

It is important to do a wound assessment when an injury first occurs, and throughout the healing process to ensure things are going smoothly. When an injury takes place, the first thing to check is the tissue and surrounding area. Note how deep the wound is, whether any thick muscle tissue, tendons, or bone are visible, and how severe bleeding is. If there is a lot of blood loss taking place, stopping the bleeding should be the first priority.

Stage one wounds are mild scrapes of the top layer of skin.
Stage one wounds are mild scrapes of the top layer of skin.

Very deep wounds in which more than the first layer or two of skin is involved should be evaluated and treated by a healthcare professional. Stitches may be needed to close the wound and to prevent outside particles like dirt from getting inside. Very rarely, an extremely severe injury may require surgery.

As healing takes place, a daily or weekly wound assessment may be necessary. You should check to make sure new tissue is forming to cover the injury and that there is no severe swelling, redness, or drainage after the first day or so. If healing is not taking place or there are signs of infection, additional treatment may be necessary.

Doing a thorough wound assessment with each dressing change is highly recommended for wounds that are severe or those that are not healing as expected. Infections may need to be treated with antibiotics, given either orally or intravenously. All treatments should be closely monitored by a doctor or other healthcare professional.

If you have any doubts as to your ability to perform a proper wound assessment to determine the severity of injury, it is best to see a professional so you can receive the necessary treatment. While a minor injury is generally noticeable and hard to miss, sometimes a more severe cut or puncture wound can be worse than it appears. Clean any wound thoroughly and cover with a bandage or dressing to prevent excessive bleeding and to keep outside matter from getting in.

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    • Stage one wounds are mild scrapes of the top layer of skin.
      By: F.C.G.
      Stage one wounds are mild scrapes of the top layer of skin.