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Evaluating nursing opinion and perception of maggot therapy for hard-to-heal wound management

Hopkins, Ruth CN; Williams, Sharon; Brown, Amy; Humphreys, Ioan; Clifford, Rebecca; Nigam, Yamni


Ruth CN Hopkins

Sharon Williams

Amy Brown

Ioan Humphreys

Yamni Nigam



Maggot therapy (MT) or larval debridement therapy is a recognised, effective but underutilised treatment for the management of hard-to-heal wounds and infected ulcers. It is available on NHS prescription in the UK, where wound management is predominantly nurse-led. Anecdotal reports and published literature suggest that nurses may be reluctant to utilise the therapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feelings and opinions of nurses regarding the use of MT.

The first stage of this mixed-methods study was a focus group held to discuss MT and opinions of specialist nurse clinicians. Next, an anonymised web-based online survey was launched through the Nursing Times journal and distributed through social media targeting all nurses. Finally, in-depth interviews were held with specialist and generalist nurses.

Awareness of MT among all nurses was extremely high. A breakdown of results showed that MT was much more highly regarded by wound specialist nurses than non-wound specialist nurses. The latter exhibited a greater level of reluctance to administer the therapy, with almost one-third of these nurses surveyed saying they found maggots disgusting and that the idea of MT made their skin crawl. In-depth interviews revealed that a lack of knowledge about MT was a prime concern.

Wound specialist nurses are more likely to embrace MT than non-wound nurse specialists, who report a varying degree of wariness to MT. Our study highlights a need for better education and training in MT for all nurses, to address issues with acceptance and willingness to treat or help treat patients with hard-to-heal wounds which are suitable for MT.


Hopkins, R. C., Williams, S., Brown, A., Humphreys, I., Clifford, R., & Nigam, Y. (2022). Evaluating nursing opinion and perception of maggot therapy for hard-to-heal wound management. Journal of Wound Care, 31(10), 846-863.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 14, 2022
Publication Date Oct 2, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2023
Journal Journal of Wound Care
Print ISSN 0969-0700
Electronic ISSN 2052-2916
Publisher MA Healthcare
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Issue 10
Pages 846-863
Public URL