Meeting the challenges of wound pain

What is ActiFormCool?


  • ActiFormCool is an ionic sheet hydrogel for painful wounds.

Who is ActiFormCool for?

  • Patients with painful wounds and skin conditions such as: radiation therapy damage, EB, pressure necrosis and exposed tendons and burns and scalds.
  • ActiFormCool has been safely used on neonates.

Using ActiFormCool

  • ActiFormCool can be used under compression on moderate to highly exuding wounds.
  • ActiFormCool has been shown to reduce the amount of oral analgesia patients require.
  • Nationwide evaluation tests on ActiFormCool, led by Tissue Viability nurse Sylvie Hampton, have shown a significant reduction in pain and exudate across leg ulcer patients.

How does ActiFormCool work?

  • The dressing donates or absorb fluid to maintain an optimal level of moisture in the wound bed.


Why was ActiFormCool® selected for you?

ActiFormCool® has probably been selected by your nurse because your wound is painful. ActiFormCool® can help reduce this pain.

The nurse may also have chosen it because your wound is weeping. ActiFormCool® can absorb the fluid from your wound.

ActiFormCool® creates a suitable environment (warm and moist) to encourage your wound to heal.

How does ActiFormCool® work to relieve pain?

ActiFormCool® will have a cooling effect on the skin when it is first applied. This will soothe the pain, especially if the skin or wound is hot and inflamed.

The pain relief continues whilst ActiFormCool® is in place by bathing the nerve endings in a moist environment.

How does ActiFormCool® clean the wound?

The moist environment created by ActiFormCool® encourages the body to cleanse the dead tissue away from the wound. This leaves a clean wound, which is neccesary for it to heal.

Sometimes the dressing may start to smell, which is actually a good sign as it means the dressing is taking the germs out of the wound and into the ActiFormCool dressing.

Contact your nurse if the smell is distressing you as they will be able to help.

The ActiFormCool® can either be replaced with a new one, or a smell-absorbing covering can be placed over the existing ActiFormCool®.

What is ActiFormCool® made of?

ActiFormCool® is a sheet hydrogel wound dressing consisting largely of water held in a blue, plastic mesh to hold it together. It also contains a low sensitising preservative.

How is the dressing applied?

Depending on the size and state of the surrounding skin, ActiFormCool® may be cut to the size of your wound, or several sheets may be applied side by side to cover a larger area.

How long will the dressing stay in place?

When ActiFormCool® is first applied, the nurse will check it frequently.

This may be daily or alternate days.

Once the treatment begins to work ActiFormCool® may remain in place for longer, depending on the progress of the condition and the other treatments being used.

What other treatments will be used?

This depends on your condition. If you have a venous leg ulcer, ActiFormCool® may be used under a compression bandage such as Actico® cohesive compression bandage.

For other wounds the nurse may use a bandage to keep it in place or, if waterproofing is required, an adhesive film dressing may be applied.

What should I be aware of?

When ActiFormCool® takes in moisture it will become cloudy and it will swell like jelly.

It's meant to do this and will not be painful. The nurse will simply scoop the dressing off or wash it off with water.

ActiFormCool® may begin to feel heavy, which is simply the wound fluid being absorbed into the dressing.

On rare occasions, ActiFormCool® may dry out and feel hard. Your nurse will simply wet it again before peeling it off. Any dry ActiFormCool® should never be pulled off your skin. This could hurt so always wet it first.

When to call the Nurse

If ActiFormCool® starts to leak or if you see blood coming from the wound, call your nurse immediately as the wound may now need a new type of dressing.

  • ActiFormCool® is a non adhesive, high water content hydrogel product, with a low sensitizing preservative.
  • ActiFormCool is permeable to water vapor, gases and small protein molecules, but impermeable to bacteria.
  • ActiFormCool® provides a moist environment at the surface of the wound.
  • The dressing will not adhere to the underlying tissue on removal

Application instructions

1. Remove sterile dressing from the package.

2. For treating larger areas several dressings may be used side by side. For smaller areas/wounds the dressing may be cut to size.

3. Peel off one half of the white plastic liners, position on the wound or skin, smooth into place and peel off the remaining half.

4. Secure with a suitable bandage, tape or compression system.

5. Where extra absorbency is required the dressing may be layered by removing the top liner of the first dressing and then applying a second dressing. Absorbent pads may be used.

Frequency of change

  • ActiFormCool® should be changed as often as the wound/condition dictates.
  • As with all absorptive dressings, frequent monitoring is required to ensure the dressing does not dry out and adhere to the wound.
  • The dressing should be changed when it becomes cloudy or opaque from fluid absorption.
  • The dressing should be changed at the first sign of fluid strike through.
  • If infection is suspected, frequent changes and monitoring are advised.

Removal instructions

1. Lift one corner and gently peel off the dressing.

2. If the dressing has dried out, soak with water or saline to rehydrate it, then peel off as per step 1.

3. As fluid is absorbed into the dressing it takes on a jelly like appearance, taking on the colour of the exudate. This is normal and shows absorption has occurred.


  • To manage nociceptive wound pain, to assist in autolytic debridement by hydration of necrotic and sloughy tissue and for absorption of exudate.
  • Suitable on painful wounds and skin conditions such as leg ulcers, radiation therapy damage, burns and scalds.
  • It may be used with secondary dressings where appropriate.
  • ActiFormCool can be used under compression on moderate to highly exuding wounds.
  • ActiFormCool has been used safely on neonates and is low sensitivity dressing.

Contra indications

ActiFormCool® should not be used as a covering on deep, narrow cavities or sinuses.

Warnings & precautions

  • Accurate wound and patient assessment is essential before commencing treatment.
  • Haemostasis should be achieved proir to dressing application.
  • The wound should be checked frequently. The absorption process may be rapid with ActiFormCool and the wound may become drier than expected.
  • Close nursing supervision is advised when used on lightly exuding wounds.
  • As with all dressings, skin and wound monitoring is advised, particularly where clinical infection is suspected. In this case, appropriate antibiotics should be given.

Check out our Debrisoft Videos

Debrisoft video

Debrisoft - debride and assess wounds in 2-4 minutes

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This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a health care professional. Consumers should rely on the judgement of a health care professional for specific conditions.
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