Leg Ulcers

Topics: Blood, Chronic wound, Patient Pages: 3 (859 words) Published: February 25, 2010
Chapter One
*A Brief Overview of a Venous Leg Ulcer *and the Assessment Process The nurse must have the skills and knowledge to identify a venous leg ulcer. Dowsett (2005) believes that it is important that nurses and other health care professionals look for the underlying cause of an ulcer. Whereas, the Royal College of Nursing (1998) has different views, and argues that, professionals who are fully trained in leg ulcer management should only be able to identify an underlying cause as it is easily mistaken that diagnosis of an arterial leg ulcer is made rather than venous which could cause serious treatment complications for the wound as well as the patient. There are major problems associated with a venous leg ulcer such as, pain, loss of mobility, financial implications and much more which will be discussed in chapter 3. Leg ulcers appear as shallow holes or craters in which the tissue underneath is exposed. They can vary in size, discolouration and depth (National Health Service Direct 2008) (NHS). The clinical factors of a venous leg ulcer are, lipodermatosclerosis (champagne bottle shaped leg) ,which is cellulites affecting the dermis and subcutaneous tissue (Finlay & Chowdhery, 2007), hyperpigmentation, derived red blood cells extravagated from dilated, leaky capillaries which produces areas of brown discolouration (Brown & Burns, 2007). Atrophic Blanche, where interspersed by visible engorged capillaries seen as tiny red dots just below the surface of the skin (Moffat et al, 2007). However before looking at the patients wound it is the nurses role to look at the patient holistically and find out past medical and family history as well as personal factor that could contribute to the condition (Moffat et al, 2007). There are essential details that the patient can tell the nurse about their ulcer and the factors that may contribute to this. Such factors are their full medical history these details should include varicose veins, diabetes, Deep Vein...
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