OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of guidelines on vascular assessment, compression usage, dressing selection, and healing rates of patients with a venous ulcer.
DESIGN: Prospective descriptive intervention evaluation.
SETTING: Oxfordshire Community National Health Service (NHS) Trust, United Kingdom.
PATIENTS: 40 consecutive prospective patients seen by Oxfordshire district nurses, either at home or at a wound clinic coordinated by district nurses located in a surgery office.
INTERVENTION: The Guideline for Diagnosis and Treatment of Venous Leg Ulcers (University of Pennsylvania) and the Oxfordshire Leg Ulcer Guideline.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Time to healing, compliance with vascular assessment, compression usage, and nursing costs.
MAIN RESULTS: 91% of patients had a vascular assessment; all patients were treated with compression. Mean time to healing was 8 weeks and was not related to dressing selection or type of compression (short- versus long-stretch bandage). Nursing costs were slightly higher for wounds that healed after 12 weeks and were treated with a long-stretch bandage (£170.00 [$250.00] vs £272.00 [$395.00]).
CONCLUSION: Use of compression was influenced by guidelines that emphasize a vascular assessment. Choice of dressing or type of compression was not a significant factor in healing rates.