Wound vac questions

  1. Hello all. I am a student at UNC-Chapel Hill and am involved in a group project over the next few weeks regarding wound vacs. I'm just beginning research on the subject. My part of the project is to "examine the contextual variables regarding the adoption of wound vac use." I wanted to ask nurses in the field what they think about the use of wound vacs. I thought, aside from my own clinical sites, where better to start than the allnurses.com wound care discussion board?!

    Here are the questions I have. Any information you are willing to share is greatly appreciated!

    - Do your facility/agency use wound vacs?
    - Why or why not?
    - What direct impacts does wound vac use have on staff?
    - What indirect impacts does wound vac use have on staff?
    - Are there any relevant policies and governance re: vac use?
    - What are the risks of vac use for the patient?
    - What are the risks for the staff and agency?
    - What are the costs (in terms of time, money, competing priorities)?

    (Another member of our group is gathering research and theoretical support for wound vac use, which is why I didn't ask specifically about its benefits.)

    THANK YOU in advance for sharing your insight!
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    About KarenAR

    Joined: Dec '01; Posts: 224; Likes: 4


  3. by   renerian
    I have used them and seen them work wonders. I do not have enough time to respond to all those questions though. sorry.

  4. by   BadBird
    Yes, I have worked with them, and Yes, they can and do work wonders for some wounds. I do not know the cost involved as I am strictly a hands on nurse. Sometimes the wound vac is just sucking out the drainage, other times you instill a antibiotic solution and it is sucked out to cleanse the wound. It is simple to use and effective. It is simple to use, mostly a closed system until you change the dressing, you also do less dressing changes. We just change the collection chamber when full.
  5. by   gwenith
    I agree with the above - much better system with fewer dressing changes that actually end up as fewer dressing changes. (Less people opening the wound "just to see how it is doing. Our biggest problem is staff education. Even though we have linked the computers at work to the KCI website there is still a problem. Some of thsi problem stems from the actual design of the KCI pump where it is difficult to read unless you lift it up and once you do that you run the risk of setting off the "tilt" alarm. (Watch staff the automatic response because the screen is on the front of the pump is to lift and tilt - beeeeeep)

    I have been so concerned with this I Emailed KCI suggesting that they redesign the pump with the operation screen on the TOP of the pump so that it is more easily visible and less liable to need moving to see the screen.

    Had a recent incident where the pump was left off post operatively for a over 12 hours (again it came back to the fact the staff were not used to it and had not noticed the pump had not re-started properly. The patient threw a Temp > 38.5 - had blood cultures taken - Oh, and he was developing a rising smell around the wound (wonder why?) I restarted the pump - nearly chocked my colleagues as the foulest...... well you get the picture. Amazingly the patients temp came back down. (HMMMM could have been coincidence),

    I can't tell you the costings but unlike other wound care interventions, this one is usually started by surgeons. In fact it is one of the few "new" wound care innovations that I have seen adopted by surgeons with any degree of enthusiasm. (It is a sad fact that a significant number of surgeons seem to be stuck on the "saline and gauze pack 2nd hourly" idea of wound dressings.

    So yes! I am an enthusiast but staff education ermains a rela problem.

    There is only one other incidence where I had a real problem and that was where the surgeom wanted us to have two pumps running on the same wound - unless you balance the pumps just so this is hair pulling time - we ended up having to y connect to one pump.
  6. by   amesly15
    Found a site www.worldwidewounds.com that has alot of the onfo you are looking for. I am a supervisor in home care and have had two clients with wound vacs recently. You could also search for KCI...it is the company we deal with and I am sure they could give you lots of info. We have seen great improvement with the vacs if used properly. But the ODOR is horrible!
  7. by   kcrnsue
    I think the vac system is great. Especially the new smaller pump. We have someone with quite an extensive wound, and the maximum time he could be off the pump is 2 hours per day, but the drainage was so heavy, that the dressing would not seal after he had been up. He now has the smaller freedom pump that he can take with him- very light. He never has to be off the pump, and we have seen a big improvement. It is usually pretty easy to orient the staff too, and I think the precautions to using it are minimal. It is costly, but usually saves money in the long run because of faster healing time.