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Home » CNA Skills » Applying Elastic Stockings

Applying Elastic Stockings

Putting on elastic stockings is a common CNA duty, so it is one that you need to master to ensure that you are effective at your job. These stockings are important to help prevent blood clots, so they must be applied properly. You also need to know when to change them so that your patient can maintain their hygiene and remain comfortable.

When Should Elastic Stockings Be Applied?

Doctors may order a patient to wear elastic stockings to reduce the risk of blood clots, especially following an injury or surgery that requires a lot of bed rest. They are also commonly used when patients have swelling in their legs or leg heaviness and aching that is causing them discomfort.

For example, you are working on a med-surg floor and your patient just had their gallbladder removed. They will be instructed to rest for at least a few days. Since they will be moving less and just had surgery, there is a risk for a blood clot to develop. You will apply the stockings to reduce their risk of this complication.

How to Put on Knee High Elastic Stockings?

There are specific steps to follow when applying elastic stockings. By following these steps, the task is relatively easy, and it will keep your patient comfortable. The steps include:

  1. Make sure the patient is lying down comfortably in bed
  2. Remove the stockings they have on, if any, and any socks they are wearing
  3. Ensure that their feet are clean and dry
  4. Inspect their feet for pressure ulcers and other abnormalities
  5. Put the end of the stocking onto the patient’s foot and gather the upper fabric in your hands
  6. Roll the gathered fabric up the patient’s leg until it is just under their knee
  7. Make sure that there are no wrinkles anywhere in the stocking
  8. Help the patient to readjust to a comfortable position in bed if needed
  9. Apply socks if the patient desires them

Applying Elastic Stockings Video

Expert Tips & Advice for CNAs to Know About Applying Elastic Stockings

There are a few tips that can make how to put on elastic stockings easier. These include:

  • Make sure that you remove them each night before the patient goes to bed
  • Apply them when the patient wakes up as this makes it easier since leg swelling tends to be less significant in the morning
  • Make sure that the end of the stocking fully covers the toes before you pull it up the leg so that the stockings are not too tight on the toes

FAQ about Applying Elastic Stockings

What is the purpose of elastic stockings?

Elastic stockings help with leg swelling, to reduce the risk of blood clots, and to lessen discomfort in the lower legs. To ensure the most benefit, the stockings must fit properly and have the right level of compression.

How often should you change elasticized stockings?

Most elasticized stockings will last three to six months with proper care. This includes washing them by hand and allowing them to air dry. If they begin to tear or snag, it is time to replace them.

Should Patients Be Monitored While Wearing Elastic Stockings?

Yes, it is important that you ensure that they have adequate circulation in their lower legs and feet when they are wearing stockings. Check their toes for slow refill, reduced sensation, coldness and other signs that can indicate reduced blood circulation.