Wound Assessment and Documentation

Dianne Rudolph's picture

By Dianne Rudolph, DNP, GNP-bc, CWOCN

In evaluating a patient with a wound on the foot, a question that often comes to mind is whether that wound is caused by pressure, diabetes mellitus (DM), ischemia, trauma, or a combination. For example, a patient with DM who happens to have an ulcer on the foot may have a diabetic foot ulcer (DFU) or possibly something else. One of the bigger challenges that many clinicians face is trying to determine the etiology of a foot ulcer. There has been a great deal of debate about DFUs and pressure injuries (PIs) on the feet of patients in terms of how to appropriately assess, classify, and treat them. The confusion and lack of evidence in differentiating between these two types of foot ulcers, particularly on the heel, can lead to misdiagnosis, which can increase both financial and patient-related costs.

Steven A. Kahn's picture

By Steven A. Kahn, MD

When treating severe burns, surgeons generally consider eschar removal to be the major factor and the top challenge in both initiating and planning for the optimal course of treatment for each patient. Before grafting, all devitalized tissue must be removed, leaving a wound bed of only healthy tissue. Some burn wounds are clearly full-thickness on initial examination, and some are clearly superficial, with relatively straightforward decision making. However, some wounds have an indeterminate depth and are more challenging. Deep partial-thickness, indeterminate-, and heterogenous-depth wounds require more complex decision making and/or a protracted interval to allow the wound to declare. Eschar removal is sometimes necessary to allow surgeons to assess the wound bed and confirm the depth and severity of certain burns. This, in turn, provides the insights a surgeon needs to determine the best course of treatment, including whether a patient must be treated with an autograft to cover a wound area.

WoundSource Editors's picture

Selection of a wound dressing requires a multifaceted approach. Currently, no dressing can meet all needs of a wound (infection prevention, promotion of re-epithelialization, moisture balance, etc.).1 Clinicians must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the dressing or dressings chosen, to optimize wound healing. However, one aspect that is common to most wound dressings is the need for moisture balance to promote wound healing. To achieve this balance, an appropriate dressing must be chosen.

WoundSource Editors's picture

The digital age is upon us, like it or not, ready or not. For the past few years, payers have incentivized, encouraged, reimbursed, and adopted various digital, remote monitoring systems and devices as a way to encourage providers to adopt more digital, remote methods. Although complete telehealth services were not reimbursed in all care settings in all Zip Codes by all payers throughout the United States at the beginning of 2020, many of the restrictions and barriers to provide nearly complete digital services were suddenly released in response to the needs of a nation in the throes of a pandemic.

Shivani Gupta's picture

By Girisha Maheshwari, Pavan Mujawdiya, and Shivani Gupta

Chronic wounds and their management pose a serious challenge to clinicians worldwide and are one of the major public health challenges faced by developing countries. Worldwide, over 40 million people develop chronic wounds, which adversely affects their quality of life. However, epidemiological studies concerning chronic wounds and their management are limited, especially in developing countries. According to the largest community-based epidemiological study on wounds in India by Gupta et al., the estimated prevalence of chronic and acute wounds is 4.48/1000 and 10.5/1000 in India. This study is more than a decade old, and there is no recent data available in the public domain. The lack of organized wound data makes it difficult to formulate new therapeutic strategies, create effective health care policies, or offer efficacious treatment options. Complex wounds take time to heal, and if they are not identified at the earliest stage, the treatment process may be complicated.

Holly Hovan's picture

By Holly Hovan MSN, APRN, GERO-BC, CWOCN-AP

Wound care and healing require an evidenced-based, interprofessional approach, following standards of care, and treating the whole patient, not just the hole in the patient. Often, wound care clinicians are consulted for recommendations on the treatment of chronic or non-healing wounds, as well as other wound, ostomy, and continence issues. Treating a wound and successfully healing a wound require a holistic approach for the best outcomes.

WoundSource Editors's picture
post-operative wound drainage

As health care professionals monitor the wound drainage of a patient, it is critical to be able to recognize the different types of wound drainage. Open wounds and incision wounds may both present varying types of exudate, some of which are perfectly healthy and others that can signal an infection or slow healing. Identifying wounds that need a change in care can speed the healing process. Here are the four main types of wound drainage health care professionals need to know:

Heidi Cross's picture

Since the advent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), I haven’t done much flying, but I love travel and I love flying. One of my favorite experiences is a window seat at about 30,000 feet on a clear sunny day. The views can be spectacular – whether flying across the Rockies or the Plains or any of the stunning and varied scenery of this country or the world. A couple of my most memorable flights involved flying into New York City with views of the New York skyline with Lady Liberty in clear sight, or into Washington, DC with clear views of the Mall, the Jefferson Monument, and the Capitol. The Alps and the Rockies are incredibly awe-inspiring, beautiful, and breathtaking. From there, you get a good overall picture of the landscape.

Holly Hovan's picture

When assessing and documenting a wound, it is important to note the amount and type of wound exudate (drainage). Using our senses is a large part of the initial wound assessment, followed by accurate documentation. Wound exudate or drainage gives us significant information about what is going on with the wound, all the way down to a cellular level, and it is one of the wound components that guide our topical treatments. As mentioned in prior blogs, a dry cell is a dead cell, but a wound with too much moisture will also have delayed healing. Additionally, infection, poor nutrition, impaired mobility, impaired sensory perception, and even malignancy in the wound can impair the healing process.
In acute wounds, drainage typically decreases over several days while the wound heals, whereas in chronic wounds, a large amount of drainage is suggestive of prolonged inflammation with failure to move into the proliferative phase of wound healing. An increase in drainage with malodor can be an indication of infection and should be treated appropriately based on the overall picture and goals of wound care.
There are many different types, consistencies, colors, and characteristics of wound drainage. In this blog, we discuss the most common types and what they could mean.

Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine's picture

By Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine Journal Review Club

The treatment of wounds has advanced significantly over the years and has involved a variety of therapy options, but the percentage of wounds that heal after 12 weeks remains at a mere 40%. One idea to improve wound healing is to improve diagnostic imaging of wounds, similar to the technological advances seen in many other specialties. Wound healing is costly, especially given that many wounds are hard to heal or there is difficulty in identifying the best course of treatment for the wound. If the current wound healing treatments show minimal improvement in four weeks and there are still thousands of bacteria-forming units on the wound, the clinician should re-evaluate the therapies being utilized and consider a change in treatment.