Warm Compress And Heat Compress are improved method of application of heat to a part of body where hot water bottle is not available. Though this is routinely used in houses by common people, it is not an authentic hospital nursing procedure. But still in absence of hot water bottle the procedure can be used by nurse for limited purpose of local application.
- A source of heat—may be heater, stove etc. 2. Thickly fold gauze or cotton.
Warm Compress Procedure
- Inform the patient about the procedure.
- Make the arrangement of heat near the patient.
- Hold the folded thick gauze or compressed cotton in your right hand.
- Warm the compress bringing nearer to source of heat.
- Take care that it does not catch fire. The distance should be maintained.
- Now bring it back from source of heat and test the temperature by back side of palm of your hand to a tolerable limit.
- If it is more hot, wait a little for its cooling down.
- Now apply over the desired part of body of the patient.
- Repeat the procedure again and again to have desired effect.
Points To Remember About application of Heat To The Body In Warm Compress And Heat Compress
- Make sure that the patient has no paralysis, numbness, or loss of sensation or poor circulation, which are absolute contradictions for its application.
- Explain what you are going to do for getting co-operation from patient and bis attendants.
- Put the patient in a comfortable position before beginning the procedure.
- If fomentation is going to be used repeatedly cut or fold the cloth to fit the body part like the arm or foot, so that air is not allowed to circulate freely and cool the part.
- If the area that is being treated is infected, be careful to observe the necessary precautions to protect the uninfected area and dispose the soiled dressing or fomentation in hygienic way.
- Carry out the procedure quickly including covering the fomentation in order to retain the heat of the application.
- Discontinue hot application if the skin becomes red or mottled or if any rashes appear.
- Hot application should be done at regular intervals to have more effective action.
- Any affected area treated with heat application should be kept covered so as to retain the benefit of procedure.
- If heat is applied to a particular area for repeated time, oil or cream should be applied to keep the skin in proper condition.
- Babies or heart patients should not be given hot applications at temperature more than 115°F to 120°F because of impaired circulation.
- Hot applications should not be given without doctor’s advise.
- Never place on limb on top of hot water bottle.
- Always ensure that the hot water bottle is properly wrapped before application.
Every person has a different level of tolerance for local application of heat or cold. Some may be able to tolerate higher or lower level of temperature without any ill effect where as others may develop blister* or burns or numbness even when the temperature is kept within required limit. So take all precautions and never be panic if some untoward effect develops. Inform the doctor.