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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | June 2018

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The community nurse’s role in early identification of necrotising fasciitis: raising awareness

The community nurse’s role in early identification of necrotising fasciitis: raising awareness
Wound Care

Article topics: Early identification, Necrotising fasciitis, Suspicion

Necrotising fasciitis (NF) is a rare, life-threatening condition (Laube and Farrell, 2002). It is otherwise frequently known as ‘the flesh-eating disease’, hospital gangrene and necrotising erysipelas (Tsitsilonis et al, 2013). Challenging to recognise and rapidly progressing, NF is associated with high mortality and morbidity and therefore requires aggressive treatment as soon as possible. Inconsistent signs and symptoms cause NF to easily be misdiagnosed. Healthcare professionals in primary care and the community are frequently the first contact the patient has with health services in the early stages of NF. As such, a focus on raising awareness of this condition, a culture shift to accept it as the medical emergency that it is, and a high degree of suspicion are all required to improve and maintain patient safety.