How does a chronic wound change a patient's social life? A European survey on social support and social participation

Int Wound J. 2023 Dec;20(10):4138-4150. doi: 10.1111/iwj.14309. Epub 2023 Jul 20.


Chronic wounds can severely limit patient's social life. This cross-sectional study investigated quantitatively social support of patients with chronic wounds, its association with health-related quality of life as well as qualitatively changes in social participation of these patients. Overall, 263 patients from seven countries participated. The most frequent wound class was leg ulcer (49.2%). Results revealed generally high levels of social support (mean global score: 5.5) as measured with the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. However, individuals differed considerably (range 1.0-7.0). All dimensions of social support differed by patients' family and living situations (p < 0.001 to p = 0.040) and were positively correlated with generic health-related quality of life (r = 0.136-0.172). Having children, living with others and being in a relationship were significant predictors of having higher global social support. Patients reported great support from family members. Many participants reported no changes in relationships with friends. Wound care managers took an important role and provided additional emotional support. Patients reported a range of discontinued activities. Despite the high overall level of social support, inter-individual differences should be acknowledged. The importance of family carers should be acknowledged to be able to reduce caregiver burden and to ensure high-qualitative wound care.

Keywords: chronic wounds; quality of life; social participation; social support; wound-QoL.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Family / psychology
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life* / psychology
  • Social Participation*
  • Social Support