Exploring nurses' and patients' feelings of disgust associated with malodorous wounds: A rapid review

K. Ousey, C. D. Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To identify primary empirical research related specifically to feelings of disgust associated with malodorous chronic cutaneous wounds. Method: A rapid review of the literature using the key words disgust; wounds; malodour and psychosocial. Results: A total of 163 papers were retrieved with seven being included for the final review. Themes emanating from the review were malodour, health-care professionals coping with malodour and disgust. Malodour is a concern to patients, which can sometimes go unreported by nursing staff; although the reasons for this remain unclear. The coping mechanisms developed by nurses in response to 'disgusting' wounds requires further exploration in order for a fuller understanding of these mechanisms to be achieved. This review has identified that both health-care professionals and patients can become distressed at wound odours, yet there is little evidence that is available to guide people as to how to manage these feelings. Conclusion: Hard-to-heal or chronic cutaneous wounds, such as leg ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers, are an increasing global health-care issue. While some research has been undertaken to explore the psychological impact of living with a fungating carcinoma; much less has been written about the management and mitigation of feelings of disgust for patients and families living with a malodorous wound or how health-care professionals can effectively provide psychosocial care. Declaration of interest: The authors have nothing to declare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)438-442
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of wound care
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2016


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