ConvaTec has launched a new evidence-based instrument, SACS, to assess and classify peristomal skin lesions at the 2010 Joint Conference of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) and World Council of Enterostomal Therapists (WCET).

The SACS Instrument is a content-validated instrument to objectively assess and classify peristomal lesions by type and location in relation to an individual’s stoma.

ConvaTec said that the SACS Instrument, developed to help establish a standard language for peristomal lesions, allows a healthcare professional to assess and classify a peristomal lesion in three steps. The first step is to assess the Lesion Type (L) per one of the five lesion categories.

Once the lesion category is identified, the second step is to identify the Topographical Location (T) of the lesion in relation to the stoma. A clock face visual using standard quadrant terminology allows the staff nurse or clinician to determine which peristomal quadrants are affected.

The third step is to document the Lesion Type (L) and Topographical Location (T) as the patient’s SACS Classification.

ConvaTec said that the instrument which is initially developed by a consensus of Italian healthcare professionals (the Studio Alterazioni Cutanee Stoma, or Study on Peristomal Skin Lesions, study group), was published in Ostomy Wound Management in 2007, following that, it was endorsed by the Italian ET association (AIOSS) and adopted in Italy. The instrument has been subsequently content validated in the US by a nationally representative sample of ostomy care experts (n=166).

Janice Beitz, member of the working group, said: “Advancing the evidence base for WOC nursing is central to the mission of WOCN. Instruments that provide standardized terminology and are content validated, are necessary building blocks to support this process.”

Gwen Turnbull of the working group, said: “Consistent interpretation of peristomal skin lesions is essential to the practice of ostomy management and improving the quality of life for individuals with a stoma. This instrument will help document incidence of peristomal lesions, and in the longer term build greater recognition of the value of ostomy nursing.”