Packing a Wound
Your nurse or doctor will show you how to do this dressing change. Look at the wound closely
each day and check for tunnels or spaces that need to be packed with the dressing.
Change your dressing ________________________times a day.
1. Gather your supplies.
Gauze for packing
Gauze squares to cover packed wound
2. Wash the table where you will put your supplies.
3. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds; Dry well with a clean towel.
4. Remove the old dressing. If the dressing sticks, pour saline over it and gently remove it. Dab
excess saline with dry gauze. Put old dressing into a plastic bag, and toss in the garbage.
5. Wash your hands again.
6. Pour saline into the wound to rinse it out.
7. Measure the gauze to pack into the wound. Use only gauze one piece of gauze; always cut
more gauze than you think you will need. However, a healing wound needs less and less
gauze. You may be using less gauze every time you pack the wound. Wet the gauze with
saline and wring out any excess. It should be as wet as a damp sponge with no dripping.
8. Loosely place the gauze into the wound. Do not overfill the wound. Use a cotton swab to
place the dressing into tunnels or deep spaces and tuck extra gauze into the wound. The
wound needs to be filled completely, but gently. Be sure to have a little gauze sticking out
when you are done so the gauze does not get stuck or lost in the wound. All wound surfaces
need to be covered.
9. Place gauze squares over the wound and tape it to hold everything in place.
10. Wash your hands.
When to Call the Doctor
ξ Temperature greater than 100.4 θF by mouth for 2 readings, 4 hours apart
ξ Increased tenderness or swelling
ξ Pus or foul smelling wound drainage
ξ Redness spreading from the wound
ξ Change in the color of the clean wound to green, black, brown or white
___________________Clinic (608) ______- ___________ 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Mon.-Friday
After hours, weekends or holidays: (608) 263-6400
Ask for the doctor on call for Dr. ________________________.
Leave your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.
Toll Free: 1-800-323-8942
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2015 University of Wisconsin Hospital
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5185