OBJECTIVE: Different types of multidisciplinary concepts for treating non-healing wounds have been developed. However, there is insufficient evidence on the quality of multidisciplinary wound centres, and a limited number of evaluation systems have so far been developed. The lack of an international wound centre evaluation/certification system is the basis for the European Wound Management Association (EWMA) Wound Centre Endorsement Project. The project aims to describe the minimum requirements for a wound management centre. These requirements have been defined as a basis for evaluation and endorsement of wound centres inside as well as outside a hospital setting (in- and outpatient clinics).
METHOD: The endorsement programme focused on wound centre characteristics such as: target population; types of centres; and choice of model used. The method used to develop the EWMA wound centre endorsement programme was an evaluation of the quality of the different types of established wound centres across and outside Europe. Criteria and procedures for endorsement of wound centres were developed and pilot projects were performed outside Europe in two in-patient centres in China and one outpatient centre in Brazil.
RESULTS: The EWMA endorsement procedure includes the following steps: initial application; review of centre data provided via the application form and follow-up dialogue; visit to the wound centre; final report and endorsement; and re-endorsement. A follow-up visit was arranged in connection with the re-endorsement. Experiences from the pilot studies have so far indicated that the endorsement process is not only a quality declaration, but may also result in positive developments, such as increased visibility, increased patient flow, increased healing rates, and decreased amputation rate.
CONCLUSION: Development of endorsement systems focusing on the minimum requirements for a wound management centre is required to support the development of high-quality wound centres which provide health-care services according to recent evidence of current best practice. The EWMA Wound Centre Endorsement Project is the first international programme of its kind and this may, in the future, support the establishment of international collaboration and knowledge sharing about the development and maintenance of high-quality wound centres.