The purpose of this quality improvement project was to use the best available evidence and expert opinion to develop and implement a simple inpatient nursing care guideline (“The Guideline”) for patients with minor skin lesions, including candidiasis, skin tears, incontinence-associated dermatitis, and stage 1 and stage 2 pressure injuries that would not require a WOC nurse consultation.
The Guideline was developed for nurses working on inpatient adult acute care units in a large community hospital in southwest Minnesota.
The Guideline was validated for its clarity and appropriateness by internal and external hospital-based wound care nurses and implemented through in-person rounding on the nursing units and distribution of badge cards and required completing an online education module. Surveys and wound documentation audits were conducted to measure changes in knowledge and skin care pre- and postimplementation of The Guideline.
We conducted wound documentation audits of approximately 491 records that assessed whether patients received appropriate treatment and found an improvement from 45% (104 of 231) to 80% (209 of 260). Nurses’ self-rating of their knowledge about which dressings and topical treatment to use improved from 18% (16 of 89) agreement to 57% (55 of 96). Nurses’ self-rating of their knowledge about when to change dressings and reapply topical treatments improved from 27% (24 of 89) agreement to 65% (62 of 96).
Although there is evidence for a variety of dressings or products to treat wounds, this quality improvement project demonstrated increased adherence with providing appropriate care when fewer treatment options were recommended to nursing staff through our structured guideline. The Guideline continues to be used at the project site and is now being implemented at affiliate hospitals.

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