Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

VAD Dressings

  • The type of dressing used on the VAD has been recognized as one of the variables which affect complication rates associated with these devices. Dressings secure the VAD.
  • Dressings may be sterile transparent semi-permeable membrane (TSM), colloid or sterile gauze.
  • Sterile gauze dressings are more appropriate than transparent dressings when insertion sites are bleeding, oozing or if the client is diaphoretic.
  • Transparent dressings, should be placed on the skin (avoid stretching) and smoothed from the center out to the edge and molded around the catheter. The edges of the transparent dressing should not be sealed with tape.
  • The use of sterile versus non-sterile clean gloves during dressing changes remains an unresolved issue. Therefore, either type can be used when performing catheter site care.
  • Antimicrobial ointments should not be applied to insertions sites as they promote fungal infections and antimicrobial resistance.
Clinical Management
Care and Maintenance to Reduce Vascular Access Complications
Point of Care Resources