Introducing an Alginate or Hydrofiber to the Highly Exudating Wound Bed

By: Janis Harrison, RN, BSN, CWOCN, CFCN


A calcium alginate dressing is a polysaccharide derived from brown seaweed. A Hydrofiber is a carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). CMC acts via an ion exchange mechanism to absorb serous exudate, making a non-adhesive, non-occlusive hydrophilic gel that conforms to the wound shape and depth.


Both are hemostatic and because these dressings are absorptive and hold exudate, they create a moist environment that promotes autolysis, granulation, and epithelization.


Alginates and Hydrofiber gelling dressings are considered primary dressings and can be changed as often as daily, or left on for several days depending on the specific dressing used and the secondary dressing added. It is recommended that you change these dressings according to the amount of exudate noted. When determining this, keep in mind that alginates typically absorb 20 times their weight in wound fluid and Hydrofibers absorb 30 times their weight. Hydrofibers also provide less risk of maceration because of their vertical fluid absorption.


Alginate/Hydrofiber dressings should NOT be used on minimally exudating wounds and should not be moistened prior to use.


These dressings may be simply removed or may have to be irrigated from the wound bed. The residual fibers are biocompatible and will degrade inside the wound. Alginate/Hydrofiber dressings should not be used on minimally exudating wounds and should not be moistened prior to use.


Alginates and fiber gel-forming dressings are safe and effective for wound care in children and significantly decrease the number of dressing changes. Decreasing the frequency of dressing changes can reduce the stress on the child, parents, and staff.


DME Insurance Guidelines for Calcium Alginate and

Other Gelling Fibers


Most insurances, including Medicare Part B, will provide coverage for up to a daily dressing change or up to 30 pieces per wound. Cover dressings can be ordered to secure this primary wound dressing.


This type of wound dressing is like an old-time poultice.


In movies, we would see a character treat the wound by placing a combination of moss and mud on a wound. Modern medicine uses that idea to create two kinds of poultices.


The first is an Alginate dressing that is made by combining seaweed with an ingredient that draws out and holds the wetness away from the wound bed.


The second is a Hydrofiber which uses plant cell fibers such as cotton and combines it with an ingredient that draws out and holds the wetness away from the wound bed.


Today's sterile poultices are far better products than they used in the old westerns.


Wound Care Dressing Changes & Application Tips


Before disrupting the wound bed, check the manufacturer's recommendations for removal and cleansing between dressing changes.


•. Cleanse the wound using saline or the wound cleanser suggested by your clinician and pat dry.


•. Apply alginate dressing so that it covers the wound and has uniform contact with the wound bed. If the wound is deep you will make a bolster by folding gauze or use a cotton ball to hold the dressing down into the wound bed.


•. The alginate dressing is considered a primary dressing and must be touching the wound.


•. Alginate dressings are used for heavily or moderately draining wounds, partial or full-thickness wounds, and stage III or IV pressure ulcers.


•. After placing the alginate dressing you will cover with a foam or the secondary dressing suggested by your clinician to absorb the drainage.


•. The dressing is changed every 1-3 days depending on the amount of drainage.


•. Do not be alarmed if the dressing turns a greenish color. This can take place because of the flora in the wound bed.


Contact your clinician if you have any questions or need detailed instructions.


Before disrupting the wound bed, check the manufacturer's recommendations for removal and cleansing between dressing changes.


Here are some commonly ordered hydrofiber and calcium alginate dressings. Many of the products listed have additional products available with silver additives.


WoundSource has many great tools available. Click here to view info several Hydrofiber dressings in one place. You can compare dressings or filter by product features (super convenient!)


Halo Wound Solutions is a DME supplier for advanced wound dressings delivered directly to patients at home or in long-term care facilities.


Frequently Ordered Hydrofibers & Calcium Alginates





•. Aquacel

Biosorb

KerraCel

Flivasorb

Opticell

ManukaMed (honey infused)







Algicell

Durafiber

Melgisorb

Silvercel Non-Adherent

Calcicare



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Halo Wound Solutions

Customer Service: 888-711-2014

orders@halodme.com

www.halodme.com


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