A new survey has revealed the challenge facing UK nurses who treat people with diabetes that live with foot ulcers.
The survey by wound care solution company Molnlycke reports that people in the UK living with an open wound has become common in people with diabetes.
Foot ulcers are closely linked with diabetes, but they are preventable. You can reduce your risk of a foot ulcer or another wound complication by keeping good control of blood sugar levels, taking good care of your feet and attending check-ups with your doctor.
In the survey, a diabetic foot ulcer was shown to take as long as eight months to heal in an average person. Dressings are changed on average five times a week, which underlines the impact wound care has on patients and nurses.
It is important to remember though that several advancements have been made in wound care in recent years. Stem cell research is exploring methods of treating foot ulcers, and in 2015 the NHS approved a device to prevent foot ulcers developing.
Earlier this year a research team led by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust called for foot care to be considered a “superspecialty” of diabetes care because of current poor outcomes.
Dr Una Adderley is a lecturer in community nursing at the University of Leeds, who leads the Legs Matter coalitio, an organisation that campaigns for better wound care. She told Molnlycke: “Community nurses, such as practice nurses and district nurses, are really under pressure when it comes to wound patients. Wound care forms a large part of the nursing caseload and it is becoming increasingly difficult for these nurses to give patients the time and care they need.
“In this study, patients report an average dressing time of 18 minutes, but this is rarely enough time to provide the care that is needed. When nurses have more time with each patient to give good quality assessment and appropriate care, we see better healing and improved patient quality of life.”
This year’s Diabetes Professional Care conference will see the return of the Foot and Wound Clinic which will give attendees the opportunity to interact with experienced practitioners and ask questions about real-life situations to help support people with diabetes in looking after their feet and lower limbs.

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