The Development and Content Validation of a Multidisciplinary, Evidence-based Wound Infection Prevention and Treatment Guideline

Ostomy Wound Manage. 2017 Nov;63(11):18-29.


Acute and chronic wound infections create clinical, economic, and patient-centered challenges best met by multidisciplinary wound care teams providing consistent, valid, clinically relevant, safe, evidence-based management across settings. To develop an evidence-based wound infection guideline, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature databases were searched from inception through August 1, 2017 using the terms (or synonyms) wound infection and risk factor, significant, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or surveillance. Studies on parasitic infections, in vitro studies, and non-English publications were excluded. The 19-member International Consolidated Wound Infection Guideline Task Force (ICWIG TF), hosted by the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC), reviewed publications/assessed levels of evidence, developed recommendations, and verified representation of all major recommendations from 27 multidisciplinary wound infection documents. Using a web-based survey, practitioners were invited to assess the clinical relevance and strength of each recommendation using standardized scores. Survey responses from 42 practitioners, including registered nurses (RNs), Wound Care Certified and advanced practice RNs, physical therapists, physicians, podiatrists, and scientists from 6 countries were returned to AAWC staff, tabulated in a spreadsheet, and analyzed for content validity. Respondents had a median of >15 years of military or civilian practice and managed an average of 15.9 ± 23 patients with infected wounds per week. Recommendations supported by strong evidence and/or content validated as relevant by at least 75% of respondents qualified for guideline inclusion. Most (159, 88.8%) of the 179 ICWIG recommendations met these criteria and were summarized as a checklist to harmonize team wound infection management across specialties and settings. Most of the 20 recommendations found not to be valid were related to the use of antibiotics and antiseptics. After final ICWIG TF review of best evidence supporting each recommendation, the guideline will be published on the AAWC website.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use
  • Consensus
  • Evidence-Based Practice / methods
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Infection Control / economics
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Wound Healing*
  • Wound Infection / economics
  • Wound Infection / prevention & control
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local