Frequently Asked Questions on Foam Dressings

Foam Dressings
What are the Foam Dressings?
Foam dressings are absorbent dressings that can be used on wounds that produce low to high levels of wound fluid. They absorb exudate to prevent it from damaging the wound and surrounding skin (the periwound area). Foam dressings that absorb low levels of fluid may be known as ‘lite’ or ‘thin’, while those that hold higher volumes may be called ‘plus’ or ‘super’.
What are the characteristics of Foam Dressings?
•Foams are highly absorbent dressings generally made from a hydrophilic polyurethane foam.
•There are various absorption rates of the different foams on the market. Some have adhesive tapes surrounding an 'island' of foam.
•Highly absorbent foams may allow the caregiver to change dressings less frequently. Foams that absorb exudate and keep it off the wound will decrease maceration to the surrounding tissue.
•Foam dressings have a wide variety of clinical applications and are beneficial for many wound types with moderate to heavy exudate.
•Comfortable and conformable
What can be the best uses of Foam Dressings?
•For heavily exudating wounds - especially during the inflammatory phase following debridement and desloughing, when drainage is at its peak
•Deep cavity wounds - as packing to prevent premature closure while absorbing exudate and maintaining a moist environment.
•Weeping ulcers, such as venous stasis.
What is the application of Foam Dressings?
Foam dressings are used for their absorbency and ability to conform to a wound. The way they handle fluid varies between brands. Simple foam dressings allow fluid to pass straight through while maintaining non-adherent contact with the wound. Other foams absorb fluid within the structure of the dressing and have horizontal wicking which spreads the fluid throughout the dressing, allowing greater absorbency.
What are the performance indicators for a Foam Dressing?
*Fluid-handling capacity
*Film backing
*Secondary dressing required
*Can be used under compression
Is antimicrobial action needed in Foam Dressings?
Some Foam Dressings have antimicrobial components which help the dressings to kill microorganisms that may be responsible for local wound infection or delayed healing. Antimicrobial dressings should only be used if infection is present, or if the patient is considered to be at an increased risk of wound infection.
Does the wound need protection in Foam Dressing?
Foams can also be used to protect boney prominences as they can provide cushioning, preventing the skin/wound from further damage. However, they do not relieve pressure so should not be used in place of pressure-relieving products.