Association of Pharmacy
Technicians UK (APTUK)
The Professional Leadership Body for Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy student and part-time staff member, Lauren, has come to pharmacist Parveen with a question about her coursework...

“We had a whole afternoon this week about compression hosiery,” Lauren tells Parveen, “but it was all about measuring and fitting, and what to look for on prescriptions. There wasn’t any explanation as to when to use what. When do you use class 1 instead of 2 or 3, for example, and who needs an open-toe and who needs a closed-toe stocking?”

ANSWER

Compression hosiery can appear bewildering, but as a general rule:

  • Class 1 stockings are used for varicose veins; class 2 for more severe varicose veins, venous eczema, healed venous leg ulcers, superficial thrombophlebitis and lipodermatosclerosis; and class 3 for the prevention of postthrombotic syndrome after a DVT. There is some flexibility within this and the patient’s tolerance level should be taken into consideration. For example, if someone with venous eczema finds class 2 stockings too painful, class 1 should be used rather than stopping the treatment altogether
  • Thigh-length hosiery is recommended for those with severe varicose veins above the knee or swelling that extends to this level. Below knee stockings are recommended for the prevention of recurrence of venous leg ulcers, or if thigh-length cannot be used or is not tolerated
  • Open-toe versus closed-toe is a personal preference. The advantages of open-toe is that some find them easier to put on and less hot to wear – so it is possible to wear socks over the top – but they can ride up, cause the toes to swell and exacerbate painful foot joints
  • Removal of stockings should be done at bedtime – with emollient applied to reduce skin dryness and irritation – and then put back on first thing in the morning before any swelling has developed or worsened, using an application aid if necessary. If this isn’t possible, they should not be worn for more than seven days continuously
  • Replacement is necessary every three to six months, or earlier if they become damaged or stretched. Ideally a second (item or pair) should be provided to allow time for laundering; handwashing at around 400C and drying away from direct heat is recommended
  • Review patients every three to six months to reassess the condition the hosiery is being used for, and check adherence and measurements.

The bigger picture

Compression hosiery is used in the management of conditions associated with chronic venous insufficiency. They increase venous blood flow by improving the action of the calf muscle pump through the exertion of graduated pressure.

Extend your learning

Talk to a couple of patients to whom you dispense compression hosiery – what matters to them? By understanding this, you will gain some insight into what affects their adherence.

Originally Published by Pharmacy Magazine

Related articles

NICE backs pharmacy

NICE says community pharmacy needs embedding in NHS pathways – something the sector has been saying for years

Body language

This bite-sized learning module considers the impact of body language on customer consultations and techniques that shou...

Professionalism and professional judgement part two

This is the second and final CPPE module in our series on professionalism and professional judgement.

More articles

A day in the life of a Homecare Pharmacy Technician

I am Diane Meech, I work as the Principal Pharmacy Technician in the role of Homecare Lead, at the Royal Brompton Hospit...

Celebrating the essential role of the Pharmacy Technician

For this #RXTechday, I'd like to celebrate with all my technician colleagues far and wide by saying, "Well done, keep up...

Did you know that you can use the APTUK website to store your CPD records indefinitely?

Follow the easy steps below to help you write and save your records, ready for you when you need to submit them to GPhC ...



This website is for healthcare professionals, people who work in pharmacy and pharmacy students. By clicking into any content, you confirm this describes you and that you agree to Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK)'s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

We use essential, performance, functional and advertising cookies to give you a better web experience. Find out how to manage these cookies here. We also use Interest Based Advertising Cookies to display relevant advertisements on this and other websites based on your viewing behaviour. By clicking "Accept" you agree to the use of these Cookies and our Cookie Policy.