CNA Skill: Applying one knee-high elastic stocking

If you work as a nursing aide, you will have patients at times that need to wear knee-high elastic stockings that are designed to prevent blood clots and to improve circulation in the leg.  There are a few steps you must follow to safely and effective apply these stockings for your patients.

You will need to wash your hands using the proper hand washing procedures before you begin to apply the anti-embolism stockings for your patient.  Make certain that the stocking you have are of the right size for your patient.  Compare the size of the stockings with the patient’s height and weight.  Keep in mind that although the stockings need to fit tightly, they cannot cut off the circulation.

Once you verify that you have the correct stockings you will need the patient to be in a supine position in order to apply the stocking most effectively.  Start by gathering all the fabric of the stocking and slowly sliding the stocking onto the individual’s foot.  You will need to carefully roll the stocking up the leg until such point that the upper end of the stocking is above the knee of your patient.  There should not be any wrinkles left in the stocking when you are done with this step.  The patient’s heels and toes should be in the proper locations of the stockings.

After you have made certain that the anti-embolism stockings have been applied correctly you can help the patient return to a position that is most comfortable for him or her.  You will want to wash your hands again after completing this procedure.

Anytime a patient is wearing an anti-embolism stocking, you have to monitor the patient to ensure that they are receiving proper circulation in their extremities and throughout the body.  The same is true for individuals with elastic bandages.  Make certain that their toes (or fingers if bandages are on the arms) do not show any symptoms of receiving a decreased blood flow.  Talk to your patient’s nurse immediately if your patient begins complaining of numbness, tingling or decreased sensation in their extremities or anywhere in their body.

Elastic stockings should never be left on for more than eight hours at a time.  They need to be removed every so often to allow for increased circulation.  In some cases, the stockings will be left on for less than eight hours.  Follow the instructions left for you by the doctor or your supervising nurse.

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