WASHINGTON, DC—Oncology nurses should consider using active leptospermum honey (ALH) in treating patients with cancer with clinically complex or chronic wounds. That’s the conclusion of research presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 38th Annual Congress.

“All wounds exhibited signs of decreased inflammatory response, increase in healthy tissue, or wound closure,” reported Patrice Dillow, RN, WOCN, MSN, APRN, of Cancer Treatment Centers of America,Zion, IL. “Promotion of normal wound healing progression and pain control are key issues for oncology nurses.”

The study assessed outcomes for oncology patients with clinically complex wounds by evaluating the effectiveness of ALH dressings in a variety of formats. After failing to heal with traditional wound care, six patients (5 female and 1 male) ages 39 to 64 years with varying wound/integumentary issues—including surgical sites, radiation dermatitis, and tumor presence—were treated using a variety of ALH dressings. In addition to a diagnosis of cancer, the majority had 2 to 3 comorbidities.

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Four of the six patients were treated with a new hydrogel colloidal sheet (MH-HCS) impregnated with ALH; the other two were treated with ALH gel and absorbent dressings or negative pressure therapy for excessive exudates.

“All patients initially reporting pain on evaluation reported a decrease in their pain levels,” Dillow noted. “Having ALH available in different formats makes it a valuable and versatile tool as part of the total wound care treatment plan.”

The combined mechanism of actions of ALH include creating an osmotic potential; decreasing edema; stimulating cytokines to promote normal healing; and bringing pH level into balance. The use of ALH, which is supported by peer-reviewed publications and research presentations, is increasing among the oncologic patient population.

“Use of these advanced dressings in this patient population improved quality of care and warrants further research. Oncology nurses should consider this evidence based alternative when dealing with clinically complex or chronic wounds,” the researchers concluded.