The multitude of assessment tools, on the one hand, presents medical professionals with a unique opportunity to choose and use the tools that fit their needs and the needs of their patients. On the other hand, the multiplicity of tools creates conditions, in which variations in wound care practices may work against the principles of effective monitoring and measurement of ulcer healing. The Pressure Ulcer Scale for Healing (PUSH) and the Bates-Jensen Wound Assessment Tool (BWAT/ PSST) are the two most popular assessment tools in wound care, but it is more important and even interesting to reconsider the validity and reliability (if possible) of other wound assessment instruments. This paper will seek to evaluate and investigate the reliability and validity of the Sussman Wound Healing Tool (SWHT).
Pressure ulcers or pressure sores present a ‘chronic problem of debilitated elders who are mainly bed or chair bound or unable to reposition themselves. The pressure ulcer is a localized area of tissue necrosis that develops when soft tissue is compressed against a bony prominence and an external surface for a long period of time” (Ebersole, Hess & Luggen 2004, p. 144). Pressure ulcers are usually the results of pressure, skin breakdown, maceration, or shearing (Baranoski & Ayello 2003; Ebersole, Hess & Luggen 2004). They can range from simple reddening to severe craters with exposed bone or muscle (Bluestein & Javaheri 2008). They are staged in four different categories: stage I can heal rapidly; stage II is treated effectively if patients avoid pressure and other risk factors; stage III requires using antiinfective agents and sometimes enzymatic debridement, whilst stage IV is associated with large and deep ulcers that often require surgical debridement of the necrotic tissue (Bates-Jensen et al 2003; Coleman et al 2002; Ebersole, Hess & Luggen, 2004). Given the importance of wound healing in different groups of