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Get quick tips that you can use in daily practice from Advances in Skin & Wound Care's Clinical Associate Editors, R. Gary Sibbald, BSc, MD, FRCPC (Med) (Derm), FAPWCA, MEd, and Elizabeth A. Ayello, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, CWOCN, FAPWCA, FAAN.


This month's clinical practice tip is on communicating with the wound care team for better treatment of patients with chronic wounds. Keep this handy for an easy reminder.

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SBAR for Wound Care Communication: 20-Second Enablers for Practice*

Whether on the cellular biology or human level, communication is vital for wound healing. Scientific studies have demonstrated that cells must "hear" the proper biochemical messages so they can respond and participate in the healing process. In a similar fashion, each member of the wound care team needs to receive appropriate information to optimize collaboration for improved patient outcomes.


The importance of the timely and appropriate communication among the transdisciplinary wound care team across all care settings was emphasized at the 2005 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services meeting to discuss the usual care of chronic wounds. Many factors can cause a communication gap, including a lack of wound care knowledge, institutional culture, or unfamiliarity with effective communication techniques. In addition, some nurses may be reluctant to make recommendations to physicians.1


An easy way of remembering an effective approach to communication is to use the acronym SBAR: Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation.2,3 SBAR is a widely used tool that enhances communication by focusing in on concise, reliable information about the problem. It is crucial to avoid misunderstanding, especially in the current environment emphasizing patient safety.


Clinicians should keep by the telephone the 1-page SBAR tool (Table 1), presented by Jeff Doucette, RN, MS, CEN, CHE CNAA, Associate Operating Officer, Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC, at the Clinical Symposium on Advances in Skin & Wound Care in Lake Buena Vista, FL, in September, 2006.4 It can be used as a reference when calling other members of the transdisciplinary team to communicate wound findings.

Table 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowTable 1. SBAR Report to a Physician

In Table 2, an example is given of how to use SBAR when calling about a specific wound care issue regarding a patient.

Table 2 - Click to enlarge in new windowTable 2. SBAR FOR WOUND CARE COMMUNICATION: PATIENT EXAMPLE



1. Ayello EA, Baranoski S, Salati DS. A survey of nurses' wound care knowledge. Adv Skin Wound Care 2005;18:268-75. [Context Link]


2. Kaiser Permanente of Colorado. SBAR Technique for Communication: A Situational Briefing Model. Available at: Accessed on January 9, 2007. [Context Link]


3. Safer Healthcare, LLC. Available at: Accessed on January 5, 2007. [Context Link]


4. Doucette JN. View from the cockpit: what the airline industry can teach us about patient safety. Nursing 2006;36(11):50-3. [Context Link]