Foam dressing

By Nancy Morgan, MBA, BSN, RN, WOC, WCC, CWCMS, DWC

Each month, Apple Bites brings you a tool you can apply in your daily practice.


•    Semipermeable polyurethane foam dressing
•    Nonadherent and nonlinting
•    Hydrophobic or waterproof outer layer
•    Provides moist wound environment
•    Permeable to water vapor but blocks entry of bacteria and contaminants
•    Available in various thicknesses with or without adhesive borders
•    Available in pads, sheets, and cavity dressings


•    As primary or secondary dressing for partial- and full-thickness wounds with minimal to heavy drainage
•    Works well for granulating and epithelializing wounds
•    Provides insulation to keep wound warm
•    As secondary dressing for wounds with packing
•    Can be used to absorb drainage around tubes
•    Helpful for hypergranulation tissue along with compression


•    Provides moist wound healing
•    Doesn’t adhere to the wound
•    Provides cushioning
•    Easy to apply and remove
•    Can be used with infected wounds
•    Provides bacterial barrier
•    Effective with hypergranulation
•    Can be used under compression
•    May be able to be cut to accommodate tubes


•    Could be expensive if exudate requires daily dressing change
•    Wound bed may desiccate if there is no exudate from the wound
•    May require secondary dressing
•    Can lead to maceration of the periwound if it becomes saturated
•    Contraindicated for use with third-degree burns, dry eschar, and sinus tracts


•    Dressing should be 1″ to 2″ (2.5 to 5 cm) larger than the wound.
•    Change the dressing every 3 to 7 days or as necessary.
•    When using nonadhesive foam, add a secondary wound dressing for securement.
•    You may facilitate dressing removal by stretching the adhesive border laterally.


•    Mitraflex, Flexan, Hydrasorb, Lyofoam, Allevyn, PolyMem
•    Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) Code A6209 – A6215    n

Nancy Morgan, cofounder of Wound Care Education Institute, combines her expertise as a Certified Wound Care Nurse with an extensive background in wound care education and program development as a nurse entrepreneur. Read her blog “Wound Care Swagger.”

Information in Apple Bites is courtesy of the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI), copyright 2012.

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3 Thoughts to “Foam dressing”

  1. Naomi Thomas RN Nurse Educator

    Need to know how the Polymen Dressing cleans the wound bed. Is it necessary to do additional cleansing prior to applying the Polymen foam dressing? Thank You

  2. Nancy Morgan

    Hi Naomi,
    With Polymem, their specific product requires no manual cleansing; this is taken directly from their package insert:
    “PolyMem’s QuadraFoam contains a mild, non-toxic cleansing agent activated by moisture that is gradually released into the wound bed. Built-in cleansing capabilities reduce the need to cleanse wounds during dressing changes, so you can avoid disrupting the growth of healthy tissue as the wound heals.”

    You can always contact your sales rep for more specific info, I hope that helps 🙂 here is a link to visit too…

  3. Well stated Nancy…Good question Naomi…As to not provide insight from a Ferris administrator, I would be happy to put you in touch with our Clinical Consultant Team if you would like to discuss your question in greater detail. (Peer to Peer With a Clinician.) Thanks – I hope this finds you both well. My first time to this site and saw a PolyMem thread, my apologies for interrupting! Thanks.

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