As a patient, many times you are entering into a surgery for the first time. You aren't equipped with the knowledge on what to expect. In surgery, particularly for mastectomies, tummy tucks, and other types of abdominal surgery, the patient will be discharged with postoperative drains (also known as Jackson Pratt (JP) Drains.
In order to be a little more informed, here are 5 steps on managing postoperative drains.
#1 - "STRIPPING" THE DRAIN
Typically nurses and doctors will teach the patient how to manage their postoperative drain after surgery. At times it can be a challenge with the limited amount of face time available between the doctor and patient.
One of the main tasks for the patient is to make sure that the drain is working properly. The patient has to be aware that blood can create a clot, and will fluid can build up. That is why the patients are oftentimes told to strip the drain. It sounds a little silly, but it's very similar to milking a cow. You start at the top of the drain, squeeze with your fingers, and then pull down.
#2 - CLEAN THE DRAIN SITE
It’s important to clean the site where the drain lives. This is where the drain catheter enters into the body. Simply wash it and put clean gauze on it.
#3 - MEASURE FLUID
It’s very important to measure the amount of fluid that is coming out every day. That is what determines when you get to have the drain taken out.
Patients are typically told to keep a log and empty out the drain twice a day, no matter what. Sometimes the patient has to empty out the drain more often if it’s filling up quickly.
#4 - PROTECT THE DRAIN
Protecting the drain is important so that it doesn’t get pulled out prematurely or accidentally. It can oftentimes be a real challenge in protecting the drain we because doctors will wrap up a patient up with some bandages and use a safety pin to pin it to the dressings.
The challenge is that sometimes those dressings can come off, which usually happens at night when the patient turns on their side. The problem is that your bed will get full of bodily fluid, which is oftentimes not well received by the other person that may be in the patient's bed.
Some of the quick fixes has been the use of lanyards to hold the drain. The big complains from patients, of course, is that they just feel awkward with the lanyard holding the drain. It's difficult to go out anywhere, they feel the drains are visible, so they’d like to hide it. That is why in the final step, we recommend purchasing a STITCHES Drain Access Shirt.
#5 - PURCHASE A STITCHES DRAIN SHIRT
A STITCHES Drain Access Shirt has a velcro front opening and two large inner pockets for holding the drains. It's comfortable for sleeping at night, and the patient can even wear it during their everyday activities. It allows them to be comfortable and keep the drains discreet from the public.
To purchase the Drain Access Shirt, click here.
The Doctor STITCHES Youtube Video is below: