Rapid research and implementation priority setting for wound care uncertainties

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INTRODUCTION: People with complex wounds are more likely to be elderly, living with multimorbidity and wound related symptoms. A variety of products are available for managing complex wounds and a range of healthcare professionals are involved in wound care, yet there is a lack of good evidence to guide practice and services. These factors create uncertainty for those who deliver and those who manage wound care. Formal priority setting for research and implementation topics is needed to more accurately target the gaps in treatment and services. We solicited practitioner and manager uncertainties in wound care and held a priority setting workshop to facilitate a collaborative approach to prioritising wound care-related uncertainties.

METHODS: We recruited healthcare professionals who regularly cared for patients with complex wounds, were wound care specialists or managed wound care services. Participants submitted up to five wound care uncertainties in consultation with their colleagues, via an on-line survey and attended a priority setting workshop. Submitted uncertainties were collated, sorted and categorised according professional group. On the day of the workshop, participants were divided into four groups depending on their profession. Uncertainties submitted by their professional group were viewed, discussed and amended, prior to the first of three individual voting rounds. Participants cast up to ten votes for the uncertainties they judged as being high priority. Continuing in the professional groups, the top 10 uncertainties from each group were displayed, and the process was repeated. Groups were then brought together for a plenary session in which the final priorities were individually scored on a scale of 0-10 by participants. Priorities were ranked and results presented. Nominal group technique was used for generating the final uncertainties, voting and discussions.

RESULTS: Thirty-three participants attended the workshop comprising; 10 specialist nurses, 10 district nurses, seven podiatrists and six managers. Participants had been qualified for a mean of 20.7 years with a mean of 16.8 years of wound care experience. One hundred and thirty-nine uncertainties were submitted electronically and a further 20 were identified on the day of the workshop following lively, interactive group discussions. Twenty-five uncertainties from the total of 159 generated made it to the final prioritised list. These included six of the 20 new uncertainties. The uncertainties varied in focus, but could be broadly categorised into three themes: service delivery and organisation, patient centred care and treatment options. Specialist nurses were more likely to vote for service delivery and organisation topics, podiatrists for patient centred topics, district nurses for treatment options and operational leads for a broad range.

CONCLUSIONS: This collaborative priority setting project is the first to engage front-line clinicians in prioritising research and implementation topics in wound care. We have shown that it is feasible to conduct topic prioritisation in a short time frame. This project has demonstrated that with careful planning and rigor, important questions that are raised in the course of clinicians' daily decision making can be translated into meaningful research and implementation initiatives that could make a difference to service delivery and patient care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0188958
JournalP L o S One
Issue number12
Early online date5 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017


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