A nurse is performing wound care on a 3-day post-operative patient who has undergone exploratory laparotomy with vertical abdominal incision. Which of the following would indicate that the nurse is cleansing the operative site correctly?

The nurse cleanses the incision from top to bottom and then laterally from the center out.

Explanation

•Always wipe from the cleanest area to the less clean areas. You don't want to drag bacteria into the granulating, healing tissue.

•In vertical wounds, this is from top to the bottom and then laterally from the center out. An exploratory laparotomy involves a vertical midline incision along the abdomen.

•Horizontal wounds must be cleaned from the center of the incision going outward.

•Stab or drain wounds must be cleaned in a circular motion from the center out.

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