Subjective and objective assessment of patients’ compression therapy skills as a predicator of ulcer recurrence

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Abstract

Aims and objectives.

To verify whether the subjectively and objectively assessed patient's skills in applying compression therapy constitute a predicting factor of venous ulcer recurrence.

Background.

Systematic implementation of compression therapy by the patient is a core of prophylaxis for recurrent ulcers. Therefore, patient education constitutes a significant element of care. However, controversies remain if all individuals benefit equally from education.

Design.

A retrospective analysis.

Methods.

The study included medical records of patients with venous ulcers (n = 351) treated between 2001 and 2011 at the Clinic for Chronic Wounds at Bydgoszcz Clinical Hospital. We compared two groups of patients, (1) with at least one episode of recurrent ulcer during the five-year observation period, and (2) without recurrences throughout the analysed period in terms of their theoretical skills and knowledge on compression therapy recorded at baseline and after one month.

Results.

Very good self-assessment of a patient's compression therapy skills and weak assessment of these skills by a nurse proved significant risk factors for recurrence of the ulcers on univariate analysis. The significance of these variables as independent risk factors for recurrent ulcers has been also confirmed on multivariate analysis, which also took into account other clinical parameters.

Conclusions.

Building up proper compression therapy skills among the patients should be the key element of a properly construed nurse-based prophylactic program, as it is the most significant modifiable risk factor for recurrent ulcers. Although the development of compression skills is undeniably important, also other factors should be considered, e.g. surgical correction of superficial reflux.

Relevance to clinical practice.

Instruction on compression therapy should be conducted by properly trained nursing personnel – the nurses should have received both content and psychological training. The compression therapy training should contain practical instruction with guided exercises and in-depth objective assessment of the effects of the training.

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