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Survey of registered nurses’ selection of compression systems for the treatment of venous leg ulcers in the UK

Oates, Angela; Adderley, Una


Una Adderley


Background: Venous leg ulceration is common in older adults in the United Kingdom. The gold-standard treatment is compression therapy. There are several compression bandage and hosiery systems that can be prescribed or purchased, but it was unclear what types of compression systems are currently being used to treat venous leg ulceration within the UK. This online scoping survey of registered nurses sought to (1) to identify what compression systems are available across the UK, (2) how frequently these are in use and (3) if there are any restrictions on their use.
Results: The results showed that registered nurses who treat patients with venous leg ulceration use a wide range of compression systems. The most frequently used systems are the ‘less bulky’ two-layer elastic and inelastic compression bandaging systems whilst two-layer hosiery was used less frequently and four-layer bandaging used infrequently. Nurses report that certain compression systems are less accessible through the usual procurement routes but this appears to be related to concerns about competency in application techniques.
Conclusions: The data in this survey provides some important insights into the issues around the use of compression therapy for venous leg ulceration in the UK. Limiting access to certain types of compression may promote patient safety but limit patient choice. There may be underuse of the types of compression that promote patient independence, such as hosiery, and over-use of potentially sub-therapeutic therapy such as ‘reduced compression’. Overall, this study suggests that further consideration is needed about the provision of compression therapy to UK patients with venous leg ulceration to optimise care and patient choice.


Oates, A., & Adderley, U. (2019). Survey of registered nurses’ selection of compression systems for the treatment of venous leg ulcers in the UK. Journal of tissue viability, 28(2), 115-119.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 19, 2019
Online Publication Date Feb 21, 2019
Publication Date 2019-05
Deposit Date Feb 22, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 27, 2022
Journal Journal of Tissue Viability
Print ISSN 0965-206X
Electronic ISSN 1876-4746
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 115-119
Keywords Bandages, community health nursing, leg ulcer, research, varicose ulcer, wound healing
Public URL
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