Undertaking a person-centred assessment of patients with chronic wounds
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Undertaking a person-centred assessment of patients with chronic wounds

Fiona Smith Senior lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland
Ailsa Sharp Lecturer, School of Health and Social Care, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland

Why you should read this article
  • To refresh your knowledge of the normal stages of wound healing and how to differentiate between acute wounds and chronic wounds

  • To understand the patient-related factors that can support and inhibit wound healing

  • To support the early identification of chronic wounds using a holistic patient assessment, thus promoting effective wound healing

Wounds have traditionally been classified as acute or chronic. While this classification is useful when attempting to estimate healing times, it might lead to an acceptance that some wounds will take longer to heal or might not heal at all. Chronic wounds can adversely affect patients’ quality of life, and the management of these wounds may involve significant healthcare resources and costs. Chronic wounds rarely develop in healthy individuals and are often associated with pre-existing conditions that complicate wound healing, such as diabetes mellitus and vascular disease. This article discusses how acute wounds and chronic wounds are differentiated. It details the phases of wound healing and identifies potential barriers to progression through these phases. Enhancing nurses’ understanding of chronic wounds will enable them to identify any potential barriers to wound healing early and remove or ameliorate them. While a holistic assessment should also include a thorough assessment of the wound itself, this is beyond the scope of this article.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11305

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Smith F, Sharp A (2019) Undertaking a person-centred assessment of patients with chronic wounds. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11305

Published online: 08 July 2019

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