• A tool for assessing perineal trauma

      Steen, Mary; Cooper, Keith; Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust/Leeds Metropolitan University (Macmillan Magazines, 1997-10-02)
      The initial aim of this study was to develop a reliable visual tool to assist in the assessment of the severity of oedema and bruising in perineal trauma, using a categorical scale of `none', `mild', `moderate' and `severe'. A standardised set of photographs was selected by 10 clinically experienced midwives to represent these categories. The tool was tested in a clinical trial involving 77 women, recording and monitoring changes in the level of oedema and bruising during the first 48 hours following suturing of an episiotomy. The results demonstrated a statistically significant change for both oedema and bruising. However, the less experienced assessors reported some uncertainties in assessing a small proportion of women. A combined method, using this tool with a categorical scoring scale, was used to minimise difficulties in the assessment. Two pairs of midwives, one pair very experienced in assessing perineal trauma and the other less experienced, evaluated the combined method. The results showed a high level of agreement. The standard set of photographs and categorical scoring scale together resulted in a reliable and sensitive assessment tool to evaluate severity of perineal trauma.