To examine patients' wound care knowledge and concerns prior to discharge from an acute care hospital.DESIGN
Comparative descriptive study of patients with wounds.SETTING AND SUBJECTS
Participants (N = 76) included 17 men and 59 women who were African American (n = 33, 43.4%) or Caucasian (n = 43, 56.6%) and ranged in age from 20 to 83 years (M = 48, SD = 13). There were 67 persons with acute wounds and 9 with chronic wounds. All were scheduled to be discharged home from a large urban acute care hospital.INSTRUMENTS
The questionnaire for this study included the following sections: Demographic, Admission and Discharge, Health, Wound Care, Beliefs about Wounds and their Care, Pain and Wounds, Literacy and Learning, and Discharge Concerns.RESULTS
Participants' greatest concerns about going home were: (1) how active to be at home, (2) wound pain, (3) looking for wound complications, and (4) watching for wound infection. Many participants did not know the dressing (38.2%) or solution to cleanse the wound (58.7%) at home. Most had taken care of a wound before (67.1%), could see (68.4%) and reach (69.7%) the wound, and had looked at it (64.5%) during the hospitalization. Patients with acute and chronic wounds did not differ significantly in their concerns about their wound or their fear of taking care of their wound. Participants generally had appropriate knowledge about wounds and hand washing, nutrition, going out of the home, and cigarette smoking. They had incorrect information about drying out wounds and leaving them open to breathe the air. The majority of patients with chronic wounds preferred getting answers to questions about their wound and its care from their physician followed by their clinic and family/friends. Patients with acute wounds overwhelmingly chose their physician as a source of information about their wound and its care, followed by calling a nurse at the hospital and using the Internet.CONCLUSIONS
Patients were able to verbalize their concerns about going home with a wound. Concerns about discharge may help to direct patient teaching in preparation for discharge. Teaching literature could include the most common concerns, as well as ways to avoid misinformation about wound care. Discharge teaching needs to begin early so that patients feel they have adequate time to learn and ask questions. Further research is needed about patients' wound care knowledge and discharge concerns.