A group of 3 WOC nurses and a nurse researcher, in partnership with the author of the Bates Wound Assessment Tool (BWAT), sought to validate wound photographs depicting each characteristic of the instrument.
The BWAT contains 13 items that assess wound size, depth, edges, undermining, necrotic tissue type, amount of necrotic, granulation and epithelialization tissue, exudate type and amount, surrounding skin color, edema, and induration. These are rated using a modified Likert scale; a score of 1 indicates the healthiest and 5 indicates the most unhealthy attribute for each characteristic. In 2001, the PSST was revised and renamed the Bates-Jensen Wound Assessment Tool to reflect the global use of the tool with wound types beyond pressure ulcers.
Phase 1 involved the selection of digitalized wound photographs for 11 of the BWAT wound characteristics by the researchers. The photographs needed to be of high resolution and good quality for eventual publication and validated by the original BWAT author as being representative of the intended characteristic. In phase 2, a face-to-face validation exercise was completed to include, edit, or exclude these photographs. Corrections were made; additional photographs were obtained for the remaining characteristics and to replace those not validated. Phase 3 involved an electronic survey that achieved validation online.
Phase 2 participants consisted of 15 WOC nurses with a mean of 11.5 years of experience with wounds. Phase 3 had 8 WOC nurses and 1 master's prepared wound care specialist, with approximately 10 years of experience. One third of participants in each phase were familiar with the BWAT. In a separate exercise to rate photographs that would be used for testing the implementation of the pictorial guide, 7 WOC nurses and 2 RNs who used the BWAT regularly and 2 researchers participated in a face-to-face discussion.
A total of 214 photographs were reviewed in this study. Seventy-three percent (n = 55) of the photographs for the pictorial guide were endorsed in phase 2, and 100% (n = 53) in phase 3 to demonstrate the 65 BWAT characteristics. In addition, photographs that could be used for a competency exercise and for pre- and posttests were also rated by the panels.
The photographic content of the BWAT pictorial guide has been validated by a small group of wound care experts. The purpose of the exercise was to create a visual learning aid to enhance the education around wound assessment and as a resource for nurses in practice. Now published in a pocket guide format, it is a standardized way to teach BWAT wound assessment skills in a consistent format.