Objective: To demonstrate the effectiveness of a simplified wound dressing regimen and develop a decision tree tool for wound management, for use by nurses in a residential aged care setting.
Method: A three-phase process was used. Firstly, practice was audited, including a cost analysis of existing wound treatment. Secondly, staff were educated on wounds, wound care products and a simplified wound management protocol. In the final phase, the new wound care products and protocol used for skin tears and other wounds (as assessed by a nurse practitioner) were evaluated and ongoing education provided as required.
Results: A total of 93 residents from two residential aged care facilities participated in the study. Overall, 178 wounds were identified, of which 121 were considered eligible for treatment under the new protocol. The majority of residents were aged >85 years and the major wound type was skin tears 72.7% (n=88). The mean healing time for skin tears was significantly shorter than for other wounds (19.7}14.2 days versus 30.9}25.2 days, p=0.0359). Most wounds were suitable for the simplified dressing selection regimen. Data collected from a survey of nursing staff demonstrated that the simplified protocol products were easy to apply, conformed well, were easy to remove and stayed in place. In addition, patient satisfaction was positive and removal of dressings was generally pain free.
Conclusion: In summary, data collected from this project showed that the dressings were effective, performed well and simplified wound dressing selection for nursing staff.