The burden of wounds in a resource-constrained tertiary hospital: A cross-sectional study

  • M E Lotz Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital
Keywords: wounds burden, cross-sectional studies, wounds prevalence


Objective: The aim of this study was to calculate the burden of wounds in several disciplines within a resource constrained hospital to be a baseline for further studies.

Material and methods: An observational, cross-sectional study was performed at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital during November 2013. All inpatients and outpatients who presented at all clinical units on the specific day of the study were included, and data concerning the presence and type of wounds was collected. Simple statistics were used to determine the burden of wounds in the hospital and for each discipline.

Results: Out of the 518 patients admitted, 179 presented with a wound, resulting in a wound burden of 34.6%. The burns unit (100%), ICU (75%) and general surgery (65%) were the predominant disciplines in this study. Acute wounds (including surgical wounds) with 45%, and traumatic wounds (including burn wounds) with 18%, were the most prevalent. Amongst chronic wounds, pressure injuries (9%) were predominant. Thirteen percent of wounds presented with clinical signs of infection and a positive culture.

Conclusion: The lack of published statistics on wounds in South Africa limited the author in comparing the burden amongst hospitals, but showed to be in line with a few studies in Africa, Europe and the United Kingdom. Studies from first world countries indicated that a multidisciplinary wound care team can play a role in the timeous diagnosis and effective and efficient management of patients with wounds so as to prevent complications. The final outcome should reflect a decrease in the clinical and financial burden of wounds. The reason that international studies were used for comparison is because no local studies were available; comparison to other countries also shows how our data compare with international studies. This is also the reason for the publication of the results for future comparison.

Author Biography

M E Lotz, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital

Professional Nurse, Wound Care Practitioner, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital, Kimberley

Wound Care