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Survey Says: Bandaging practices

by Dennis Ernst • September 01, 2016

Lady listeningThis month we asked our newsletter readers and visitors to our web site what they use for bandaging venipuncture and skin puncture sites, and if their employer has a policy on inquiring about adhesive allergies.

Latex versus non-latex

We were delighted to see less than one percent of those responded still use latex bandages. Most in this survey use non-latex bandage or surgical tape with a folded gauze pad (57%), while 29 percent use an adhesive wrap (e.g., Coban). Seven percent use a commercial non-latex adhesive bandage, while, surprisingly, five percent use a non-latex spot bandage for venipuncture sites. What we found troubling is that two percent admitted to not bandaging venipuncture sites, which deviates from the standards.


Some comments:

  • Usually non latex spot bandage but for geriatric patient will prefer to gauze wrap with Coban Or don't apply any bandage depending on skin condition
  • Technically co-flex (a more user friendly Coban). But also non-latex adhesive bandage or gauze and paper tape if requested.
  • Non latex coban and gauze
  • If the patient is not on a blood thinner we use a non latex spot bandage. If the patient is on a blood thinner or has any clotting problems we use non latex Co-ban
  • CO-BAN on every patient.
  • I use coban on the elderly because of skin tears from tape and also men with hairy arms.(they appreciate it very much)
  • No ugly tape!!! Silk and surgical tape can damage delicate skin. Gauze and paper tape - gauze and latex-free coban if patient is on coumadin
  • We wrap the gauze around the patient's arm then securely apply non-latex tape on top of the gauze so that the tape does not touch the patient's skin.
  • paper tape and gauze pad

Fingersticks and heelsticks

For fingersticks on infants 2 years of age, thirty-six percent use commercial non-latex adhesive bandages, while 21 percent use some other non-latex adhesive with a folded gauze pad. Four percent use latex bandages on infant fingers, while a whopping 14 percent don't bandage fingerstick sites at all.

Seven percent of newborns get latex bandages applied after their heelsticks by our survey participants, while nine percent get non-latex commercial bandages. Forty-three percent get non-latex adhesive strips with gauze pads. Twenty-four percent got non-latex spot bandages. 

BandagesSome comments:

  • On premies I use gauze and a "Posie"
  • bandaid with folded gauze
  • paper tape with folded gauze
  • No bandage used. apply pressure until bleeding stops. Choking hazard.
  • Co-flex wrap with folded gauze
  • We usually just hold pressure on the puncture until the bleeding stops
  • must check with parent/guardian first
  • Never surgical tape on a neonate! gauze and paper tape

Adhesive allergies

Forty-four percent of those responding said their facility has a policy on asking patients if they have an adhesive allergy. The same percentage said theirs did not. Twelve percent weren't sure. Of those who said they had a policy, 94 percent said they always follow it. Of those who have no policy where they work, sixty-eight percent said they sometimes or always ask the patient anyway. 

Some comments:

  • Patient who have allergies will inform us
  • Any patient I have encountered with an adhesive issue has been quick to inform me up front - even before I begin the collection procedure.
  • Patients are always advised to remove the tape after a hour to avoid sensitivity issues usually the patient mentions it if he is allergic
  • We ask about latex but not adhesive.
  • We stock ONLY latex free adhesive, no need to ask about allergies
  • I use co-ban on every patient, no adhesives ever.
  • I work in a hospital, it is nursing responsibility to ask
  • Our bandages are hypoallergenic. If the patient has an issue, they generally inform us. I advise them to remove the bandage after 20 minutes, or 5 minutes if they have sensitivity or bruising issues. If they have issues, I fold up gauze and keep it in place with tubigrip.

This month, we're asking the Mother of All Survey Questions: Would you recommend the phlebotomy profession to your friends and acquaintances? Why or why not? Take the survey.

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