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Ostomy Wound Manage. 2003 May;49(5):32-4, 38-40, 42-3.

Assessing venous ulcer population characteristics and practices in a home care community.

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  • 1Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute, Canada.


To plan for a new community leg ulcer service in one Ontario region, venous ulcer population characteristics and current community care practices were obtained from a home care cohort of people with venous ulcers. A secondary analysis was conducted on the venous ulcer cohort using data collected during a Regional Prevalence and Profile Study. Patients were identified based on the clinical syndrome for venous disease criteria described in the Royal College of Nurses clinical practice guidelines and by the presence of an ankle-brachial pressure index 0.8. The Regional Prevalence and Profile Study identified 263 people with leg ulcers for a rate of 2.0 per 1,000 people >25 years of age. One hundred, seven ulcers (41%) were the result of venous disease; of these, 83 (78% of cases) were associated with a single nursing agency and formed the study cohort. Most patients (51, 61%) were female and 65 years old. Thirty-eight (46%) had 4 comorbid conditions, 63 spoke English, 29 lived alone, 38 did not require physical aids or assistance for mobility, and 81 (98%) were able to travel outside of their home. The current ulcer had been present for an average of 15 months (median 6 months), 51 participants had a previous leg ulcer, and 22 had episodes of ulceration for > 5 years. Of the 121 ulcers in the study, 48 (41%) were located at the ankle, and the majority (85%) were > 1 cm2. General practitioners were the main medical care providers for 48 participants, and 52 (62%) had seen a specialist physician for their current ulcer. These findings are similar to large studies conducted in other industrialized countries and confirm that venous ulcers are a chronic problem in a population with complex health needs.

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