An image of a pressure ulcer allows for assessment and mapping of the wound, so ensuring it is high quality is important in order to investigate the status and progress and support your care.
A photograph is useful for annotation, to highlight areas of concern and is particularly helpful for keeping track of a wound and its healing process.
Before taking any photographs you must be considerate to the patient. Verify that you have the right consent and be mindful of the patients privacy. Pull the door or curtain shut and cover up sensitive areas.
Follow these tips to help you get the right photographs:
Photograph the pressure ulcer and surrounding skin so you can monitor the whole area over time and also establish the wound location in relation to the whole body.
Standardise the views
Keep the angle and the patient position the same. This will make comparing images over time much easier.
Keep it steady
Use a tripod or just push your elbows into your waist to steady yourself and help get a clear image.
Make sure the wound is in focus and take a few photos to ensure that you get everything you need.
Time and date
Your camera will record the date and time of an image which can be used when storing the images on a database, so ensure the date and time are set correctly.
Keep them secure
Securely save and store the images and remove from the camera. The most secure method of removing images is to reformat the memory card via the camera menu.
Place a ruler near the pressure ulcer to give an accurate indication of its size. An L-shaped ruler is preferred, however, a standard ruler also works well.
Identify the patient
The first photograph should display the patient’s demographics, including patient name/ identification number, date of birth, location, and a brief clinical history. Store this photograph with the patient’s other images to help identify images for quality improvement audits.
You don’t need to take hours setting up for the best shot but be mindful of any shadows or glare. Use the flash if it will help.
A count down out loud will help the patient to remain still at the correct time.
There is no right or wrong way to take a photograph of a pressure ulcer as long as the end result is clear and provides an accurate representation. Use the above tips to help you achieve this and share your own methods with others.