edited by Stephen Thomas
The Formulary of Wound Management Products is a guide to the range of dressings and other wound management products available, together with details of the relevant manufacturers and/or distributors. Information is also provided on the products’ key characteristics and usage. Basic information on the management of wounds and wound types is included within the body of the text and some additional more general information is available in the appendices.
Where possible, evidence-based practice is promoted but there is little evidence to indicate which dressings or topical agents are the most effective in the treatment of chronic wounds. Whilst there is general agreement that compression is a key requirement for the treatment of venous ulcers, for example, there is no clear consensus on the choice of primary dressing.
Numerous systematic reviews have been undertaken in the wound management field and in some areas NICE guidelines have been developed which draw upon the conclusions of these reviews. In general, however, systematic reviews and therefore guidelines produced from them, do little to influence routine practice as they simply reflect what is already recognised by most clinicians with an interest in wound management, specifically that there is a lack of data available from well designed, robust clinical trials upon which to base decisions on dressing selection and use.
In the absence of data from large trials, practitioners are forced to simply rely on personal experience with the products concerned, or depend upon the results of less reliable small-scale studies or the claims contained in manufacturers’ literature.
The only other alternative is to select dressings based upon their ability to meet certain basic performance requirements which are determined by the nature and condition of specific wounds. Most practitioners would agree, for example, that exudate management, effective wound cleansing properties, prevention of pain and trauma and the ability to control or prevent bacterial proliferation (where specifically indicated) are likely to be the principal requirements of a dressing or dressing system, although the relative importance of these parameters may change on a weekly, or even more frequent, basis as the wound in question either improves or deteriorates
The Formulary of Wound Management Products seeks to provide some of this information, which may be used to help guide individual practice or assist in the production of local clinical guidelines. Such documents can reflect the combined wisdom of local wound management experts and be employed either to promote or discourage the use of new or existing products in accordance with local policies.