1. Assess the wound to be covered if a wound is involved. If there is active bleeding, the bleeding must be controlled to prevent hemorrhage and possible hypovolemia. A pressure dressing can be applied using a bandage to hold the pressure compress in place if necessary. A bandage should not be applied to a wound that does not have a dressing over the bleeding area. Immobilizing a joint or broken bone is one of the most important factors in controlling blood loss, and a properly applied bandage can aid in immobilization.

2. Assess the client's level of consciousness. This is important so that the client can report if the bandage is too tight and is possibly restricting circulation. If the client has a decreased level of consciousness, use extra caution to ascertain that the dressing is not too constricting.

3. Assess the client's skin integrity, paying special attention to the presence of edema, ecchymosis, lacerations, abrasions, any bony prominence, and the condition of the skin (dry, cracked, infected, thin). These factors will help determine what bandage products and techniques to use.

4. Assess neurovascular status. Check capillary refill, temperature, and color of the skin in the area surrounding and distal to the bandage. Check motion, sensation, and pulses. These factors will help determine a baseline for future assessments as well as what type of bandaging product or technique to use.

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