Objective: To explore the psychological treatment options for pruritus in patients with wounds.
Method: This study employed a narrative design with a search being completed using the databases Academic Search Complete, Google Scholar, PsycInfo, PsycARTICLES, Medline and CINAHL Plus. All articles between 1980-2013 that included the following search terms: [pruritus OR itch OR itching] AND [management OR psychological interventions OR treatment] AND [wounds OR burns OR wounds burns] were included in the review.
Results: A number of psychological treatments options emerged from the literature search that were suggested to be effective for treating itching. These included methods such as habit reversal, suggestions, relaxation, massage and itch-coping programmes. Each of these methods showed potential for improving the patient experience by reducing itching, although the research evidence is currently somewhat limited.
Conclusion: Although itching is a common symptom in wounds, the use of psychological treatments for this may be rather limited. The treatments discussed show promise and their use should be a welcome addition to the healthcare professional's armoury for working with people with wounds.
Declaration of interest: There were no external sources of funding for thist study. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.