Background The 2010 recommendations of the French National Authority for Health on the use of alginate dressings belonging to different classes (Algosteril A Class III and Urgosorb U Class IIb) require some practical knowledge.
Purpose To assess the knowledge of the use of those two dressings by the nursing staff in our hospital.
Materials and methods A questionnaire validated by the local tissue viability lead was distributed to 23 nursing staff using these two dressings. For each type of dressings (flat sheets and ribbons), clinical indications are required.
Results 77 questionnaires were analysed, with an average response rate of the services calculated at 70%. 38% of caregivers would use dressing A on non-surgical wounds, 52% for minor bleeding and 40% for the debridement of chronic superficial wounds. The use of an alginate on low-exuding chronic wounds was estimated at 35%. The level of risk and the unit purchase price between A and U were unknown respectively by 45% and 25% by the health care teams. The nursing care time was the same for both dressings (84%) despite their different class. In surgical services, the nurses’ level of knowledge was high (90%), whereas in non-surgical services, it remains low (35%). However 29% of them would seek medical advice.
To address this lack of knowledge, a best practice guideline associated with a simple decisional algorithm validated by our local tissue viability lead will soon be made available to nursing staff.
Conclusions This study shows heterogeneous practices and misuse of alginate dressings by the nursing staff. It will be necessary to reassess the impact of our best practice training and cost savings later.
No conflict of interest.
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