Applying Elastic Support Hose

Written by Hollie Finders, RN
Hollie Finders is a registered nurse with years of experience working in the health care field. She has degrees in both biochemistry and nursing. After working with patients of all ages, Hollie now specializes in pediatric intensive care nursing. Hollie’s LinkedIn

Procedure for Applying an Elastic Support Hose

Equipment needed: elastic stockings.

  1. Perform hand hygiene.
  2. Explain the procedure to the patient and ask for his or her assistance in following directions.
  3. If the bed is adjustable, raise the bed to a comfortable working height.
  4. Assist the patient into a supine position.
  5. Expose the patient’s bare leg by removing any socks, shoes, or slippers.
  6. Turn the stocking inside out, down to the heel. To do this, slip the stocking onto your arm and grasp inside the heel pocket. With your other hand, turn the stocking inside out by pulling the stocking down your arm.
  7. Slip the foot into the stocking. Align the heel into the heel pocket and ensure the stocking is on straight. Smooth out any bumps before proceeding.
  8. Now, grab the inside-out portion of the stocking and begin pulling it over the foot, heel, and leg. The stocking will turn right side out as you pull it up the leg.
  9. Remove any wrinkles by smoothing out the stocking.
  10. Verify that the hose is on correctly and is not too tight or cutting off circulation.
  11. Repeat procedure on the other leg if necessary.
  12. Assist the patient back into a comfortable position.
  13. Perform hand hygiene.
  14. Document the procedure in the patient’s chart and report any changes in the patient’s condition to the nurse.

Important Information

Elastic stockings are worn to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and reduce the pooling of blood in vessels [1]. Many hospitals and care facilities use elastic stockings in patients with reduced mobility, such as surgical patients and/or the elderly. There are a few risks in wearing elastic stockings; however, these risks can be prevented with proper application and care.

First off, stockings should be the right size and shape for the person. Stockings that are too loose provide no benefit, whereas stockings that are too tight can cut off blood circulation, causing ischemia and increasing the risk for developing a DVT [1]. Second, stockings must be completely smooth, without folds or wrinkles. Folds and wrinkles may create a compressive band that can impede blood flow and result in patient injury [1].

Last, it is important to closely monitor patients wearing elastic stockings. Stocking should be worn for no longer than eight hours at a time, unless ordered otherwise. The stockings should be completely removed, and a nurse should assess the patient’s circulation. Nursing assistants should promptly notify the nurse if a patient complains of any numbness or tingling in the extremities.