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Aged care provider puts focus on tackling wounds

Care staff need to understand how to treat and refer on diabetes-related foot ulcers, which affect up to a quarter of diabetics, to prevent amputations, a wound expert says.

Alarmingly, up to 80 per cent of people with a diabetic foot ulcer go on to have amputation according to Annie Walsh, a senior podiatrist at Liverpool Hospital High Risk Foot Services.

Research shows that early intervention reduces the progression from ulceration to amputation, she said.

“It is so important that all staff have an understanding of these wounds, how to treat them and when to refer on,” Ms Walsh told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Ms Walsh was speaking ahead of her appearance at a special wound conference in Sydney that aged care provider Uniting is hosting for its staff. While the two-day conference is open to Uniting staff only, AAA will be reporting from the event to share lessons from expert presenters with other professionals.

Ms Walsh’s presentation will cover the high-risk foot, types of wounds commonly found on the foot, and treatment and management strategies.

Linda Justin

“As people age, their propensity for wounds increases and this is borne out in what we see across our services – and the sector,” said Linda Justin, Uniting’s director of practice and quality.

The conference aims to increase staff knowledge and understanding of chronic wounds and address challenges to managing them.

Uniting provides services to clients in its residential aged care facilities, at the Uniting War Memorial Hospital and through home care.

The event will provide professional development for around 300 staff so they can implement sustainable strategies to manage and treat wounds should and when they occur, Ms Justin said.

“We are looking at a holistic and preventative approach to health and wellbeing. Issues such as diet and frailty impact on the propensity for wounds in people as they age. In turn, wound care also impacts on quality of life.

“Adopting best practice to prevent and treat wounds, including reducing healing times, allows people to live life to their full capacity,” Ms Justin said.

Elsewhere at the event, Uniting wound clinical consultant Hayley Puckeridge will discuss quality of life in a session that aims to illustrate how wound management approaches require a holistic approach.

“Delegates will see how we can work together not only to improve wounds, healing times, and wound management, but also improve lives,” Ms Puckeridge said.

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4 Responses to Aged care provider puts focus on tackling wounds

  1. Carmel Stingel March 2, 2018 at 11:45 am #

    Well done Uniting. This sounds very, very interesting and I hope it becomes available to all carer staff through some medium. 80% is a very alarming statistic. I know from experience as a carer for a diabetic how important foot care is, and just how vigilant you need to be.

  2. Windsor Gardener March 2, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

    It is a great initiative which should be successful if replicated in any supported residential facility. I believe there should be a focus on increasing physical activity before and after diagnosis to get the blood flowing to the target areas.

    There is an old saying “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of a cure.”
    It is better to stop something bad from happening than it is to deal with it after it has happened.

  3. Hazel Smyth March 3, 2018 at 1:01 am #

    As you say these are scary statistics. Prevention is definitely better than cure. In the UK we sell a foot inspection mirror called which has been specifically designed for people with diabetes to carry our their daily foot check. It is easy to use, has been designed so that the device can be safely used while seated and the mirror is at an angle which allows the person to view the whole of the sole and heel of the foot. The mirror is acrylic so shatterproof. We at Solesee are not only spreading awareness of the device but also of the importance of daily foot checks if you have diabetes. Using a mirror allows you to take responsibility of your foot health and take control.

  4. Cathy Young April 16, 2018 at 1:53 pm #

    I am an Occupstional Therapist working in pressure injury management and prevention . This is a topic dear to my heart !!
    I work with young adults who have Spina Bifida and we aim to arm them with the skills and equipment to independently skin check – all over !!!and therefore reduce PI
    Risk !
    Have been looking for the elusive mirror for a few years !!!!yours sounds perfect .
    Could you please share the supplier- we are in Melourne Australia !

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