Evaluation of a wound dressing using different research methods

Br J Nurs. 2004 Jun 10;13(11):S21-4. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2004.13.Sup2.13236.


This article examines different methods of assessing wound progress in order to better inform future research designs and thus produce a more credible and valid bank of knowledge. Data collected in a study of Vacutex, a capillary action dressing, were reassessed using four different mechanisms: non-blind assessment by a research nurse; two different scoring systems based on wound size and appearance; and a blind randomized assessment using initial and final images of wounds.Non-blind assessment indicated that the Vacutex dressing was superior to standard dressings by +40.8% (P=0.022); assessment by wound area and overall appearance indicated +11.2% superiority (P is not significant); and the blind randomized image-based assessment indicated a +20.6% difference (P is not significant). Assessment by wound area and description did not allow a percentage superiority to be identified and the conclusion of this method was that there was no significant difference by rank sum testing. The different assessment techniques resulted in significantly different conclusions about the effectiveness of Vacutex. On balance, the blind, randomized, image-based assessment may miss some finer nuances of wound progress but is probably the most unbiased option because those assessing the wounds are not aware of which images are taken before or after wounds have been treated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bandages / standards*
  • Bias
  • Clinical Nursing Research / methods*
  • Clinical Nursing Research / standards
  • Humans
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic / standards
  • Nursing Assessment / methods*
  • Nursing Assessment / standards
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / methods*
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / standards
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Skin Care / instrumentation
  • Skin Care / nursing
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing
  • Wounds and Injuries / nursing*
  • Wounds and Injuries / psychology