assessment, dressing change, nursing, pain, training, wound care



  1. Toma, Elena RN, CSWC, CSOC
  2. Veneziano, Maria Luisa RN, CSWC
  3. Filomeno, Lucia DNP, RN
  4. Villa, Annalisa MD
  5. Rosato, Edoardo MD, PhD
  6. la Torre, Giuseppe MD, PhD


BACKGROUND: Pain is an important symptom in wound management, and the choice of treatment directly affects the patient's quality of life. Pain assessment (PA) is essential for quality wound care and, in Italy, mandatory by law.


OBJECTIVE: To administer a dedicated learning survey to obtain a better sense of current PA practices, ensure more training, improve procedures, and reduce malpractice.


METHODS: A 16-month learning survey of nurses based on a validated questionnaire developed for this project.


RESULTS: The survey sample comprised 512 questionnaires. Of respondents, 78% were female, 56.1% were older than 40 years, 94% were RNs, and 6% were wound care specialist nurses. Participants performed a range of dressing changes per week (1-5, 46.3%; 6-20, 34.4%; >21, 19.3%). Although 93% of respondents considered PA important, only 26% recognized it as a vital parameter, and barely one-quarter (25.4%) were aware of current legislation mandating PA. The majority (95.3%) believed that PA is not consistent with pain perceived by the patient. Further, 87.3% stated that they did not have adequate knowledge to conduct a PA, 91.4% did not consider themselves up-to-date on PA, and 81% did not document PA results. However, specific wound care training leads to significantly better PA (P < .001): 71.9% of wound care specialist nurses recognized pain as a vital parameter, and 59.4% were aware of current legislation regarding PA; further, 81.3% consistently evaluated pain, 59.4% documented PA results, and 50% communicated the outcome to the physician in charge.


CONCLUSIONS: The results illustrate the lack of sensitivity, training, and education that Italian RNs have regarding PA in wound care.