ABSTRACT: Wound assessment is a key element of effective wound care, and assessment of pressure ulcers includes accurate determination of wound stage. Although the original staging system established by Shea was based on his understanding of the pathology involved in pressure ulcer development, subsequent staging systems (and the one currently in use) were intended simply to establish the level of tissue damage. Recently, clinicians have drawn attention to numerous limitations associated with the current staging system, including the inability to differentiate between an inflammatory response involving intact skin and a deep tissue injury (deep bruising) underneath intact skin. This is a clinically significant difference because clinicians have noted that most inflammatory responses resolve with intervention, whereas most areas of deep tissue injury progress to full-thickness ulcers even when appropriate intervention is provided. A second area of controversy involves partial-thickness (Stage 2) lesions; because many of these lesions are caused by maceration and/or friction (as opposed to pressure) clinicians are frequently unclear regarding which of these lesions should be staged. In response to these concerns, the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel convened a consensus forum and published white papers to clearly outline the issues; they solicited clinician feedback on the white papers and the Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses Society provided a written response. This article summarizes the key points of the white papers, WOCN Society response, and consensus forum discussion.
Journal of WOCN 02/2006; 33(2):125-30; quiz 131-2. · 1.14 Impact Factor