Managing the challenges of highly viscous exudate
Exudate is normal in the wound healing process, but clinicians specializing in wound care indicate that exudate management is one of the biggest challenges to achieving the best clinical outcome. A recent survey (see below for link to summary of survey results) showed that 84 percent of clinicians believe that highly viscous exudate influences clinical outcome.
Despite its importance, exudate viscosity is an underdeveloped aspect of clinical practice. Much of the research done to date focuses on exudate volume, but exudate type can have a far-reaching influence on patients' quality of life as well as on the cost of care. Failing to manage exudate can lead to complications, including maceration, skin stripping, skin reactions, drying, inflammation and infection.
Applying appropriate dressings is vital to exudate management, which again comes back to considering overall exudate characteristics (volume and viscosity), not just the amount of exudate in the wound. In the same survey, clinicians report that only one in ten clinicians believe that their currently used foam dressing is effective at managing highly viscous exudate.
Insights into exudate management practices from the survey are summarized in the document which can be accessed below.