Assessment Resources

01 April 2021
This JCN clinical skills series looks at different aspects of continence care in the community, with useful tips on patient care and improving practice.

The second part of the JCN continence clinical skills series looks at the requirements to undertake a basic continence assessment for bladder and/or bowel dysfunction. Assessment is the first step in identifying the type of continence issue an individual may suffer from. It should identify, for example, key elements of underlying medical history, presenting symptoms and duration of problem, medications, allergies, mobility and cognitive ability. This assessment should be supported by investigations, e.g. bladder and/or bowel diary, fluid/dietary intake, urinalysis, assessment of any post-void residual urine and pelvic floor/rectal examinations (if competent in skill).
Topics:  Investigations
16 April 2019

Skin tears are a common type of tissue injury, which often go unrecognised and misdiagnosed. Furthermore, classification and documentation of skin is often poor, resulting in chronic wounds with associated adverse patient outcomes. The International Skin Tear Advisory Panel (ISTAP) recently updated the International Best Practice Guidelines and definition of a skin tear based on emerging evidence and expert discussion and consensus. This article presents a discussion of the epidemiology, risk factors and causes of skin tears. In addition, the most recent best practice recommendations for the prevention, assessment, and management of skin tears is summarised.

12 February 2019

The suboptimal management of leg ulcers has been identified as a UK-wide problem that involves a high financial and personal cost (Guest et al, 2015). One common omission identified in the care of patients with a leg ulcer is a failure to establish the underlying aetiology of the wound. Ideally, an accurate leg ulcer diagnosis should initiate the appropriate therapy, which should, in turn, facilitate healing; however, an inaccurate diagnosis at the outset means that the patient may not be started on an appropriate management pathway. Although vascular disorders are the major cause of leg ulcers, there are other aetiologies that should be considered when the leg ulcer has failed to respond to evidencebased therapy (Rayner et al, 2009). This article outlines some of the atypical leg ulcer types the author has encountered, as well as detailing the signs that were identified within the assessment process and which allowed the author to formulate an accurate diagnosis.

05 October 2018

Healthy eating is a topic covered widely in the media, and is particularly relevant to healthcare, with diet and nutrition vital to the management and prevention of many conditions. Wound healing is a complex process that relies on the coordination and internal regulation of activities such as the removal of devitalised tissue and growth of fresh blood vessels. This article examines the phases of wound healing and discusses how nutrients can affect and enhance this process. Understanding the role of nutrients in wound care enables nurses to offer advice to patients whose wounds are not progressing in the expected manner. Nutrition should form part of holistic wound assessment, with any malnourished patient being referred to a dietician. It is a misconception that only underweight individuals can be malnourished and the use of a robust assessment tool will assist nurses in deciding which patients require onward referral. There appears to be a significant link between poor nutrition and delayed wound healing, with a higher risk of complications such as infection identified in malnourished patients

Topics:  Wounds
23 March 2018

Asthma is a common lung condition affecting many patients in the community. Nurses are pivotal in the diagnosis and management of people with both stable disease and during acute flare-ups. Asthma reviews offer opportunities to build therapeutic relationships and optimise treatment, helping patients to recognise and plan management of an asthma attack. On average, three people die of asthma every day in the UK - a stark statistic which should encourage nurses to be forever watchful of opportunities to regularly review the evidence base and produce patient-centred care. This article focuses on the management of chronic adult asthma, at diagnosis, management, and briefly touches on assessment of the acute exacerbation. They key differences between the asthma guidelines of the British Thoracic Society/Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (BTS/SIGN, 2016) and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2017) guidelines, which are currently in use in the UK, are presented for reader consideration. 

Topics:  Management
20 December 2017

This paper looks at an audit which compared the clinical outcomes of patients with lower limb oedema, who were either treated in a designated leg ulcer clinic or in their own homes. From exploring the findings, the author identified areas for service improvement such as staff training, staff allocation for clinics/home visits and completion and documentation of leg assessments. The piece of work forms part of a wider review of lower limb management within the author’s locality. The findings have facilitated greater discussion with senior management within the organisation around service provision for this patient group and gained valuable support for service and staff development.

08 November 2017

This article examines current guidelines and best practice statements for the treatment and management of chronic venous leg ulcers (VLUs). There is a need for continuous professional development (CPD) for community staff, who are constantly under pressure to maintain evidence-based practice when dealing with the complex, clinical and challenging environment associated with chronic venous leg ulcers. This article highlights the importance of patient assessment, management and treatment options, including the gold standard of compression therapy and new options available