SOURCE: Medline Industries, Inc.


November 22, 2010 17:01 ET

Educational Packaging for Wound and Skin Dressing Improves Nurses' Accuracy and Confidence: New Study in Journal of Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Reveals

71% of Nurses Would Change Practice Based on New Packaging With Education

MUNDELEIN, IL--(Marketwire - November 22, 2010) - Educational guides on wound dressing packages can lead to increased patient safety and greater accuracy when applying the product, according to a just-released study in the Journal of Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing (Journal of WOCN).  Published in the November/December issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of WOCN, the study included 173 clinicians and found that the nurses who used wound care dressings that had educational instructions attached to the outer package were 88 percent more likely to apply the products correctly than nurses who used the dressings in a traditional package.

"The results clearly show that just-in-time education in the form of educational instructions on a dressing package improves nurses' confidence and accuracy when applying the dressing," said Dea Kent, MSN, RN, NP-C, CWOCN, the author of the study and the manager of the Wound Ostomy Clinic at Riverview Hospital in Noblesville, Indiana. "The implication for manufacturers of wound dressings is that they should make it hard for the nurse to do the wrong thing by providing clear, easy-to-understand instructions that are accessible on the outside of the package so the nurse can review the process before treating the patient."

The study used a wound dressing packaging system from Medline Industries, Inc. based on a concept of "just-in-time" education. Instructions for appropriate dressing use are attached to each package. The study was undertaken to assess the effects of this educational resource. The wound dressing used in the study was not familiar to the participants in order to more accurately assess the effect of the educational packaging and self-reported confidence with application.

The participants were randomly divided into two groups: a control group receiving the traditional wound education and an "intervention" group using Medline's just-in-time educational packaging. None of the 62 nurses in the control group (using the traditional packaging) were able to apply the dressing correctly as compared to 68 of the 77 (88%) in the intervention group.

Similarly, 88% of the nurses in the intervention group reported that the educational packaging gave them confidence that they can correctly apply the dressing. Moreover, 71% in this group said they would change their nursing practice in relation to application of wound dressings based on the education on the package.

"The study findings provide evidence that manufacturers of wound dressings should apply just-in-time education techniques by placing an educational guide on all wound dressing packages in order to enhance the accuracy and safety of application and, ultimately, its efficacy in wound healing," said Kent in the study's conclusion.

Kent attributed the application failures by the nurses in the control group to a lack of knowledge about dressing application, since no information was available on the dressing package itself.

The study included nurses from a variety of backgrounds possessing all levels of education ranging from licensed practical nurse to Master of Science in nursing. Both novice and seasoned nurses were included. The study was conducted at eight facilities in central Indiana, including community hospitals, critical access hospitals, long-term care acute units, long-term care facilities and home health agencies.

About Medline Industries, Inc. 
Medline, the nation's largest privately held manufacturer and distributor of healthcare products, manufactures and distributes more than 100,000 products to hospitals, extended-care facilities, surgery centers, home care dealers and agencies. Headquartered in Mundelein, Ill., Medline has more than 900 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services.

Over the past five years, Medline has been the fastest-growing distributor of medical and surgical supplies in the U.S., serving as the primary distributor to over 450 major hospitals and healthcare systems. As a leading distributor, Medline offers a comprehensive array of consulting and management services encompassing the supply chain and logistics, utilization and standardization, business tools and enhanced reporting capabilities and on-staff clinicians.

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