Wound Assessment, Measurement, and Documentation Basics for Professionals
Patients with chronic wounds often require constant monitoring to track the effectiveness of the treatments given. In some cases, the affected patients may experience difficulties in reaching wound care facilities to see their care providers. Newer wound assessment and data collation methods are targeted at improving patient access to wound care experts even from remote locations.
What Is Wound Assessment?
Wound assessment refers to activities involving the measurement of various physical and biochemical parameters involved in wound repair. Data generated from the measurement of patient wounds can be collated, analyzed, and used to predict their responses to any therapeutic intervention.
How Is the Data for Wound Assessment Generated?
Wound care experts typically base their wound assessment data on the outcomes of physical examinations and clinical investigations (laboratory or radiological). Visual wound inspection and probing will provide the examiner with a pretty accurate picture of tissue damage while imaging will reveal hidden details not readily apparent on an inspection with the naked eye. Wound examinations and diagnostic imaging can be used to take various measurements related to the wound including depth, margins, the volume of exudate, and damage to periwound skin. Once sufficient data has been generated, it can be used to aid clinical decision-making.
Components of Wound Assessment
As earlier mentioned, wound assessment is done to measure different factors affecting the wound healing process. The critical components in the wound assessment are outlined below:
- Location of wound
- Size estimation
- Nature of wound edge and base
- The appearance of surrounding tissue/periwound skin
- The volume of wound exudate
- Wound healing progress
Location of Wound
The location of a wound is critical in wound assessment as it can determine the rate of injury resolution. Wound care experts must identify, and relate wounds to various anatomical landmarks for example the sacrum, the lateral or medial malleolus of the lower limb (ankle), greater trochanter (the hip). Documentation of wound location should be exact, allowing wound care providers to easily identify problem areas.
Nature of Wound Edge and Base
Wound clinicians should assess the wound edge, and base closely as it can tell a lot about how well the healing process is going. Wound edge and base assessment will include checks for irregular, oblong, undermined, or rolled under edges. Further assessing the nature of the tissue within the wound base is equally important. Granulation tissue usually appears as a deep red while healthy epithelial tissue appears a deep pink.
The volume of Wound Exudate
Wound exudate can have a profound effect on the rate of tissue recovery. Too little or too much wound discharge will negatively affect the overall tissue repair process. In addition to the volume of exudate produced at a wound site, the color and smell are also important features to consider. Foul-smelling, purulent wound exudate typically indicates a bacterial infection.
Wound Healing Progress
Taking clinical pictures of healing wounds at intervals can be done and a comparison made from the onset of the wound till the present. This will give the wound care professional an idea of the tissue repair progress. Physical wound inspection might reveal a properly healing wound or one where tissue repair is stunted or even deteriorating further.
Why Is Wound Assessment Relevant?
Every wound care professional strives to help their patients achieve complete injury resolution in the shortest possible. This can be done by conducting routine surveillance and implementing appropriate adjustments in the treatments offered. Consequently, wound assessment remains a critical tool in the management of acute to chronic wounds.
Telehealth: Optimizing the Wound Healing Process
Having established the importance of proper wound assessment at all stages of tissue repair, it is unfortunate to note that various factors are constraining some patients with chronic, slow healing wounds from accessing proper care. A major restriction is the lack of proximity to wound care professionals. For patients living in remote, hard-to-reach areas, timely wound assessment might be near impossible to obtain resulting in unfavorable wound outcomes. However, with increasing integration of telehealth services in traditional wound care treatments, patients in underserved communities can gain access to wound assessment and care remotely using electronic platforms.
The Wound Pros offers a digital wound management application (RITA) for professionals with automatic wound assessment using artificial intelligence. Using its virtual services, wound care experts can assess patient wounds and direct local wound care. Further, the Wound Pros platform generates detailed documentation after each consultation which is stored in secure servers guaranteeing patient confidentiality at all times. This telehealth platform has a friendly user interface making it a great choice for both patients and their wound care providers in long-term care facilities.