Collins Complex Wound Guide Template


Created by Kelly Collins BSN, RN, CWOCN1 and Erika Yazdanbakhsh MSN, CNL, RN, CWON2

Perm J 2020;24:19.118
E-pub: 08/05/2020

In the Hospital setting, having a Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN) to direct wound care treatment is incredibly helpful to the physician, surgeon and nurses.  However, there are times when there is no CWOCN available.  It became evident that staff needed a better resource or tool to refer to when there was no CWOCN coverage.   The Hospital CWOCN sought to find a wound care guide to be used by staff when there was no CWOCN coverage, however, all the resources she found seemed one directional and were unable to account for multiple wound characteristics.  Wound care treatment recommendations need to be decided based upon a multitude of factors, not just a linear set of questions that lead to one answer which may be an improper treatment recommendation and can cause important factors to go unrecognized or untreated.

This is what inspired the creation of the Collins Complex Wound Guide Template (available at The guide template was developed by a board certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse of many years’ experience, in consultation with other CWOCN nurses and hospitalists who see patients with complex wounds.

The goals set for this Complex Wound Guide Template were to develop a guide template that could:

- Address complex wounds as these seem to be the most intimidating types of wounds staff encounter.

- Lead the clinician to a safe treatment recommendation every time.

- Be simple enough that anyone, (a layperson) could technically use the guide template and select a safe treatment recommendation.)

summary of guide template

Collins Guide Templet has a row of five complex wound pictures, each with a brief description of the therapy goal.  The clinician chooses the wound most closely resembling the wound needing a dressing. 

In the next row, the clinician chooses between depth or no depth based upon the appearance of the wound.

The clinician then selects the amount of drainage and is led to a box that has safe treatment options for the wound.

This multidirectional approach is essential to aid the clinician to a safe treatment option and this is why the guide is successful.  It is imperative, however, that the treatment options inserted into the guide template are entered under the professional guidance of a CWOCN in conjunction with the MD using facility approved product formulary items and with consideration of patient care setting.  Collins Complex Wound Guide Template has been shared with the Kaiser Northern California WOCN Peer Group and has been utilized by other CWOCNs at Kaiser Permanente facilities who have adjusted the dressing options listed in the Kaiser Santa Rosa Hospital version to fit their facility’s needs. 

The guide template is being used in our hospital wound education sessions. The registered nurses in attendance are given the guide template, shown a series of complex wounds and asked to choose a dressing.  A Skin and Wound Assessment Team (SWAT), made up of nurses interested in and specially trained in wound care, use the Kaiser Santa Rosa Hospital version of the guide template on the medical surgical units to offer dressing suggestions. Feedback has been very positive from physicians and nurses who have successfully used this version of the guide template when there was no CWOCN available.


Kelly Collins and Erika Yazdanbakhsh give consent to publish Collins Complex Wound Guide Template online in the Nursing Research and Practice section of The Permanente Journal.

Collins Complex Wound Guide Template is not research and does not include PHI.

Author Affiliations

1 Inpatient Wound and Ostomy Nurse Specialist for Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Santa Rosa, California

2 Ostomy Nurse Specialist for Kaiser Permanente in Portland, Oregon

Corresponding Author

Kelly Collins BSN, RN, CWOCN (

Erika Yazdanbakhsh MSN, CNL, RN, CWON (


Keywords: wound, nursing, complex wounds, pressure injury, treatment options


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