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How evidence-based is venous leg ulcer care? A survey in community settings

Authors

  • Ann Van Hecke,

    1. Ann Van Hecke MA RN PhD Candidate Department of Public Health – Nursing Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
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  • Maria Grypdonck,

    1. Maria Grypdonck PhD RN Professor Department of Public Health – Nursing Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
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  • Hilde Beele,

    1. Hilde Beele MD PhD Professor Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University Hospital, Belgium
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  • Dirk De Bacquer,

    1. Dirk De Bacquer PhD Professor Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
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  • Tom Defloor

    1. Tom Defloor PhD RN Professor Department of Public Health – Nursing Science, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
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A. Van Hecke:
e-mail: ann.vanhecke@ugent.be

Abstract

Title. How evidence-based is venous leg ulcer care? A survey in community settings.

Background:  Incongruence between evidence and practice in leg ulcer care has been reported. Little is known about predictive factors related to the provision of lifestyle advice.

Method:  Two focus interviews and a Delphi procedure were used to develop a self-administered questionnaire based on the Graham questionnaire. Nurses employed by community healthcare organizations and independent nurses in private practices participated (n = 789). The data were collected in 2006.

Findings:  Compression was applied in 58·7% of patients with venous ulcers. Pain was present in 82·9%. A third of patients with pain received analgesics, but half of these patients (52·1%) took analgesics as prescribed. Half of the nurses (50·8%) gave lifestyle advice related to the leg ulcer. It was mainly instructions about leg elevation (68·3%), promoting physical activity (39·8%) and optimizing nutrition (16·7%) that were provided. Nurses who perceived themselves to have adequate leg ulcer knowledge and skills were 3·75 times more likely to provide lifestyle advice compared with those lacking such knowledge and skills. Nurses who found leg ulcer care not rewarding, rarely successful or difficult gave statistically significantly less lifestyle advice than those who found it rather rewarding, successful and not difficult.

Conclusion:  Patients with leg ulcers receive less than optimum care and patient education. A particular challenge lies in leg ulcer education programmes and pain management.

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