Working hand in glove: A collaborative approach to wound dressings and compression therapy

Rosemary Kendell1, Sharon Rowe2

1 Fiona Stanley Hospital, Locked Bag 100, Palmyra DC, WA 6961 rosemary.kendell@health.wa.gov.au
2 Fiona Stanley Hospital, Locked Bag 100, Palmyra DC, WA 6961 sharon.rowe@health.wa.gov.au

Practice varies nation-wide regarding the timing of the commencement of compression therapy, particularly in relation to the stage of wound healing.  It has previously been demonstrated by the Royal Perth Hospital Burns Unit that the early application of compression does not adversely affect wound healing.  However, it can be challenging to meet the needs of the healing wound and apply therapeutic compression as, at face value, wound dressings and compression can appear incompatible.   Common barriers include delayed healing, bulky dressings, negative pressure wound therapy, heavily exudating wounds and multiple burn sites healing at different rates.    Under these circumstances, early compression may well be premature, ill-timed or inappropriate, however, this is not universally the case, and so the opportunity arises for conversation that leads to a changed mindset.  Ultimately, both the clinicians healing the wound and those managing the scar are working towards the same end – timely healing with a positive scar outcome. Collaboration between nursing staff and occupational therapists has the potential to enhance this outcome by facilitating early compression during wound healing so that the objectives of both disciplines are achieved.

This paper will examine the practical challenges, and will explore solutions and using brief case studies, will celebrate the achievements when nursing and occupational therapy staff work collaboratively toward a shared goal.

Key Words

Wound dressings, Pressure garments, Collaboration

Biography

Snr OT Burns at Fiona Stanley Hospital

About ANZBA

ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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