University of Limerick
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Resigning oneself to a life of wound-related odour – A thematic analysis of patient experiences

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posted on 2024-01-05, 08:27 authored by G Gethin, Louise MurphyLouise Murphy, D. Sezgin, P.J. Carr, C. Mcintosh, S. Probst

Aims: To determine how patients with chronic wounds describe wound odour, identify what strategies they use to manage it and how effective these are. Materials and methods: Using a qualitative descriptive approach, semi-structured interviews were conducted between July and August 2021 with seven patients living with an odorous chronic wound at home. Data were analysed using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis framework. Results: The results were organised into two main themes: 1) becoming resigned to living with wound-related odour 2) strategies used to manage wound-related odour. Participants were sad, embarrassed and felt isolated but became resigned to living with this odour and accepting of it as a consequence of having a wound. Frequent dressing changes, household cleaning along with the use of sprays were the most frequently used tactics to manage odour none of which were deemed to be very effective. Conclusion: This study highlights the problem of odour management in clinical practice and how individuals develop strategies to overcome odour. Sadly, patients were resigned to living with wound odour and were accepting of it as part of daily life. This highlights the importance for healthcare professionals to recognise, assess for and ensure a better understanding of how people experience wound odour, the impact it can have on them personally. Frequent dressing changes can help manage wound odour from the patient’s perspective.


CÚRAM - Centre for Research in Medical Devices

Science Foundation Ireland

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Journal of Tissue Viability 32(4), pp. 460-466



Other Funding information

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) B. Braun Hospicare Ltd

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  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

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  • Nursing and Midwifery

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