Injecting drug use: Implications for skin and wound management
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Coull, A. & Nicolson, P. (2002) Injecting drug use: Implications for skin and wound management. British Journal of Nursing, 11(Sup1).
This article, the first of two parts, introduces the difficulties facing nurses working with injecting drug users with skin problems. Drug abuse is increasing globally, and has huge implications for healthcare practitioners. Increasing numbers of tissue viability nurses are also encountering drug injection-induced wounds in their practice, but there is a lack of evidence for management of chronic skin problems in this patient group. Together with rising numbers of injecting drug users, there are increased health implications such as bacteraemia, septicaemia, amputation and skin breakdown. Abscesses and chronic wounds as well as prolonged leg ulceration are common. Drug users may demonstrate chaotic lifestyles which may inhibit access to usual healthcare provision. Issues relating to healing of these wounds are explored. The second part, which will appear in the next Tissue Viability Supplement, will describe the development of a specialist wound care clinic for homeless drug users.