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Managing wound exudate

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Managing wound exudate can be a challenge Managing wound exudate can be a challenge for nurses

Managing wound exudate presents significant challenges in clinical practice, despite successful innovation, research and an improved understanding of wound management.

Oedematous (‘leaky’) legs, pressure ulcers and arterial ulcers in particular produce high levels of wound exudate and impact on patients’ quality of life.1 In most clinical settings, wound exudate requires more dressing changes, increased nursing visits and leads to patient discomfort. In some cases, managing wound exudate requires the prescription of dressings considered expensive.
Yet wound exudate is an essential element of the wound healing process.2,3 Principles of Best Practice advises that wound exudate, is an essential element of the wound healing process as it:

  • Prevents the wound from drying out.
  • Aids the movement of cells across the wound bed.
  • Enables the provision of nutrients required for cell development.
  • Enables the diffusion of immune and growth factors.
  • Aids the removal of dead tissue.4

During the inflammation phase of wound healing, the wound is expected to produce high levels of exudate. In some instances these high levels of exudate also present in chronic non-healing wounds. They present with abnormal inflammation markers not usually present in acute wounds.4

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