Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Dressing Selection

In choosing a dressing, healthcare providers must ensure their choice is:

  • directed by a comprehensive clinical assessment
  • an appropriate treatment for the identified wound stage
  • guided by person-centred preferences and goals

Select a dressing that meets the following criteria:

  • Matches the volume of wound exudate, so that the wound bed is kept moist and the peri-wound is kept dry and intact
  • Is appropriate to the size, depth, and location of the ulcer
  • Loosely fills the wound cavity
  • Decreases the frequency of dressing changes
  • Is comfortable and cosmetically acceptable to the person
  • Works in conjunction with adjunctive therapies
  • Maintains a moist wound environment
  • Controls exudates and keeps the peri-wound dry
  • Provides thermal insulation and wound temperature stability
  • Protects from contamination by outside micro-organisms
  • May address bacterial bioburden
  • Maintains its integrity while on the wound and does not leave behind fibers or foreign material when removed
  • Minimizes pain and trauma to the wound bed, particularly on application and removal
  • Is cost-efficient to the person and/or the person’s primary caregiver(s), and to the healthcare system
  • Honours person-centred preferences, while being appropriate to the stage of the wound.
  • Use dressing products according to manufacturers’ recommendations—that is, follow their indicated use and be aware of dressing contraindications.
Clinical Management
Assessment and Management of Pressure Injuries for the Interprofessional Team, Third Edition
Point of Care Resources