Atkin, Leanne, Stephenson, John and Bateman, Sharon (2015) Foam dressings: a review of the literature and evaluation of fluid-handling capacity of four leading foam dressings. Wounds UK, 11 (1). pp. 75-81. ISSN 1746-6814

Posnett and Franks (2008) have calculated that 200,000 people in the UK have a chronic
wound, with an estimated treatment cost of between £2.3 billion and £3.1 billion per
year. With an ever-increasing ageing population, it can be assumed that costs associated
with the management and treatment of wounds will also continue to rise. The Business
Service Authority (2014) reported that in 2013 between £160 and £185 million was
spent on wound care dressings within primary care services in England, of which foam
dressings accounted for £22.6 million of the overall spend. Foam dressings are frequently
used in wound care to assist with the management of wound exudate, helping to prevent
maceration of the wound bed, protect the surrounding skin and prevent cross-infection
caused by strikethrough. The aim of dressings is to provide an optimum environment
at the interface with the wound bed to promote wound healing. With limited financial
resources within health care, the cost-effectiveness of each type of wound dressing is high
on the agenda. It is, however, important that costs are not considered in isolation; the
outcomes (general health benefits) associated with interventions (e.g. wound healing and
reduction in wound pain) must also be taken into account alongside close collaboration
with the patient, and in some cases the carer (Rippon et al, 2008). This article provides
a summary of the published literature relating to foam dressings, investigating their
impact on healing rates, pain on dressing removal, fluid-handling capacity and their costeffectiveness.
It focuses on the independent assessment of the fluid-handling capacity of
eight commonly-prescribed foam dressings: four bordered (Cutimed® Siltec B, Mepilex®
Border, Allevyn® Life and Tegaderm™ foam adhesive) and four non-bordered (Cutimed®
Siltec/Cutimed® SiltecPLUS, Mepilex®, Allevyn® Non-Adhesive, and Tegaderm™ foam).

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