After undergoing surgery, patients need to take care of their wounds to ensure they heal properly. Once they leave your care, it’s up to the patient to take charge of their healing process by following your instructions and being mindful of their wounds. If your patient doesn’t care for themselves properly, the wound may become infected, leading to potentially life-threatening conditions.

Since your patient will be managing their wound themselves or with help from a family member, it’s essential to educate them on how to care for their wounds properly. They should also be aware of the risks should they not follow your instructions for care. Here are some ways to encourage your patients to care for their post-surgery wounds.

Talk to patients before surgery

After receiving surgery, regardless of the scale, patients will not be in the right mindset to receive instructions. They may still be groggy from anesthetic, in pain, stressed out, or tired and won’t retain any information that you give them. Thus, it’s best to explain the instructions for care and any supplies they will require ahead of time. Run through the instructions during a pre-surgery appointment and have them bring along anyone who will be helping with care post-surgery.

Practice with them

To ensure they understand how to properly clean and re-dress their wounds walk your patient through the process step by step. Giving them a list of instructions is helpful, but showing them how to do it in-person is much more effective. Show them how to dress the wound first, then have them repeat the process themselves. You can also send them links to videos which they can reference whenever they need a refresher.

Provide them with the proper supplies

Make sure you send them home with the medical equipment and supplies they need to get them through their healing. If the wound is severe and will need prolonged attention, you can provide the patient with a list of the exact supplies that they should purchase to promote successful and quick healing. Regardless, send them on their way with enough supplies to get them through their first week of healing.

Give them detailed care instructions

Getting surgery is not the most pleasant activity, and patients will likely want to get home as soon as possible afterward. Don’t keep them around to explain care instructions verbally and instead provide them with a paper copy of discharge instructions as a follow-up to your pre-surgery appointment. You can also send these out via email as well just-in-case they misplace their paper copy.

On these instructions, you will want to include:

–     Surgeons name and their contact details

–     How often to clean and redress post-surgical wounds

–     How to administer necessary medications

–     List of trusted medical supplies to purchase once they run out of initial supply

–     Wound cleaning instructions

Always encourage patients to reach out if they have any questions and immediately seek medical attention if the wound becomes infected.