Wounds can be a little more complex than how we perceive them to be. While most wound healing techniques are quite common knowledge, one of the things that aren’t talked about much is the process of wound measurement.
Yes, accurate wound measurement does play a role in the whole wound healing process. Not only does it ensure effective and timely wound healing, but it is also vital for informed decision-making as well as risk management.
What is Wound Measurement?
The term wound measurement refers to the clinical assessment process of determining the size, depth, as well as the nature of the wound in question.
The said process involves inspection, measurement, the use of images, and a detailed documentation of the wound.
Considered an ongoing process, wound measurement requires precision and utmost care. It is taken over a certain time period and at regular intervals to help identify any changes to the wound such as enlargements or the wound’s overall appearance.
The information gathered is then used as a basis for treatment while also helping provide estimates that can be used to predict trends accurately.
There are two ways to measure wounds. You can either do it manually or digitally. The manual method heavily depends on the examiner’s skills, knowledge, and accuracy while the digital method provides a more unbiased and accurate way of measuring as well as documenting wounds.
Why is Wound Measurement Important?
As mentioned, accurate wound measurement is key to better decision-making. This is because imprecise measurement and incomplete documentation can lead to increased exposure and unfavorable consequences, not just for the patient, but for the organization as well.
We need to keep in mind that the wound care industry is becoming more accountable than it used to. Today, the demand for evidence of healing and quality wound care practices is much stricter than it used to.
Health care providers are now expected to meet certain standards and quality indicators associated with pressure ulcers, amputations, documentations, and patient satisfaction, among others. Without accurate wound measurement information and meticulous and complete documentation, such expectations cannot be met.
How are Wounds Measured?
Wounds are typically measured using a sterile cotton tipped applicator and a ruler via the Clock Method (where the head is 12:00 and the feet are 6:00).
The length of the wound is measured by placing the ruler over the longest length using 12:00 to 6:00. The width, on the other hand, measures perpendicular to the length at its widest interval using 3:00 to 9:00.
Depth is then measured by putting the sterile cotton tipped applicator in the wound bed’s deepest part. The applicator then needs to be grasped at the wound margin and placed against the ruler.
For minimal depth, indicate at least 0.1cm in your documentation. Should necrotic tissue be present and covering the wound, indicate UTD or unable to determine. Most importantly, make sure to record depth for all open wounds.
While measurement is considered vital, a comprehensive assessment of the wound, the periwound, and the patient themselves is deemed necessary.