The Impact of Tele-advice on the Community Nurses' Management of Leg Ulcers

  • J. Melanie Peters

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This study attempted to investigate the impact of new technology, specifically tele-advice on community nurses' care of leg ulcers. Firstly, a stratified randomised controlled study was designed to measure the impact of using this technology on their levels of wound knowledge and confidence. An individual self-test questionnaire and an attitudinal scale measured nurses' knowledge and confidence respectively both pre and post-intervention. Secondly, a new visual wound assessment tool was designed to represent the state of the wound by a single numerical value; the State of the Wound Index (SWI). Thirdly, the impact of nurses' knowledge, confidence and patient variables was explored to assess their impact on the state of the wound as represented by SWI.

    The sample consisted of thirty-eight registered primary care nurses from two local NHS trusts in South Wales and their corresponding 38 patients with venous leg ulcers. Nurses were stratified according to their qualifications into experimental or control groups. Both groups were shown to have comparable levels of knowledge and confidence pre-intervention. Nurses in the experimental group received expert tele-advice by a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) over a 12 week period regarding the care of their patient's leg ulcer, whilst those in the control group continued to care for their leg ulcer patients in the traditional way.

    hi the experimental group, nurses' level of knowledge increased significantly (p=0.02) whilst no improvement was observed for the control group. In terms of confidence, the experimental group reached near significance when extremely positive statements were excluded with no improvement observed for the
    control group. Results show that the intervention had a positively significant impact on nurses' wound care knowledge and level of confidence.

    A set of 18 tele-transmittable wound factors was identified by a panel of wound experts. These factors were ranked by another independent panel of leg ulcer experts and no significance could be established in their order of importance. These factors were then examined for their highest and lowest possible estimates for every wound in the sample both pre and post intervention using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). These estimated values formed the basis for 95% confidence interval estimates from which 100 virtual nurse assessed values were generated. These values were then used to generate SWI. This new index ranged from 0 (best possible state) to 100 (worse possible) and was seen to reliably increase when the wound deteriorated and decrease as the wound improved.

    Linear regression models were built to establish the relationship between SWI, patient variables and nurses' knowledge and confidence levels pre and post-intervention. These indicated that knowledge and confidence can have a positive impact on the healing process.

    This study has shown that there is great potential for the use of tele-advice in community nurses' care of leg ulcers. For this to succeed, it is recommended that further pre and post registration nurse training is provided to enhance their knowledge in wound care, especially in the areas of physiology and wound assessment.
    Date of AwardAug 2003
    Original languageEnglish


    • Tele-advice
    • wound assessment
    • Care of leg ulcers
    • State of the Wound Index (SWI)
    • Wound knowledge and confidence
    • pre and post-intervention
    • Community Nurses

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