Wound care pain in hospitalized adult patients

Nancy A. Stotts, Kathleen Puntillo, Ann Bonham Morris, Julie Stanik-Hutt, Carol Lynn Thompson, Cheri White, Lorie Reitman Wild

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Wound care (WC) is an important part of treatment for hospitalized patients with wounds. There is a paucity of data about the type or amount of pain patients experience during WC. Objectives The purpose of this study is to describe patients' (n = 412) WC-related pain perceptions and responses, examine the relationships between patients' WC pain and demographic variables, and describe the distress associated with WC. Methods A repeated-measures design was used to examine pain before, during, and after WC in hospitalized patients (n = 412) with wounds healing by secondary intention. Results Pain intensity was greatest during WC. It was most frequently described as tender, sharp, stinging, aching, and stabbing. Behaviors that occurred most often were no verbal response, no body movement, grimace, and complaints of pain. There were no differences in pain between genders. Nonwhites had significantly greater WC pain than whites. Pain during the procedure was the same in younger and older patients, and procedural distress was mild. Conclusion Patients experience pain and distress with WC. Some behaviors and words consistently describe WC pain. Further work is warranted to refine pain assessment and management in patients undergoing WC procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-332
Number of pages12
JournalHeart and Lung: Journal of Acute and Critical Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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