McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams

A case study of the initial treatment of a suspected ‘hard to heal’ wound

For several decades, health care professionals have been under increasing financial and political pressure to optimise care and above all minimise costs. Chronic wound management is estimated to cost the NHS £1bn a year (Harding, 1998) and as longevity increases and medical, nursing and pharmaceutical knowledge and care develop, this figure will inevitably rise. Venous leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and pressure ulcers account for more than 90% of what are defined as chronic wounds (Mustoe, O'Shaughnessy, Kloeters, 2006). Clearly, some of this enormous sum could be invested elsewhere if those dealing with wounds were better informed about current wound management research and had access to a wide range of dressings.

For the individual, chronic wounds can be physically debilitating and painful, but the psychological effects are equally detrimental, disruption in self-image and self-consciousness about odour and visible dressings. It was for this reason that I chose to study the holistic care of someone who had sustained a wound that would, in all likelihood, be chronic and 'hard to heal'.

After four weeks, the ulcer on Mrs S' leg did seem to be decreasing in size and depth, although it was a slow process, Annie was pleased that her leg appeared to be healing. Mr and Mrs S also appeared to be more confident about managing Annie's diabetes and felt empowered by knowing more about the condition and the fact that they could, through their actions, improve Annie's health.

In retrospect, Mr S said that he wished he had sought help sooner after the fall. One might suggest that his generation are more reluctant than most to 'bother' the doctor and are more stoic whereas a younger person is less tolerant of diminished quality of health and comfort. In the future, he realised the importance of early intervention when a diabetic person is developing health problems. Annie did still find the compression stockings hot and uncomfortable to wear but was aware of the fact they would help her leg heal and reduce the oedema in her legs.

Related Links
To Top