Location: South East Coast
Podiatrists and nurses are facing serious challenges when treating diabetic patients with foot ulcers.
These are a frequent problem for diabetes sufferers, albeit one that can be prevented. This can be done through the maintenance of blood sugar levels, regular medical check-ups and careful foot care.
A survey by wound care solution provider Molnlycke found that it has now become common for people with diabetes to live with persistent open wounds on their feet. It revealed that the average diabetic ulcer can take up to eight months to heal on average, with the dressings needing to be changed five times a week on average.
As a result, nurses taking care of patients with the condition are placed under significant strain because of the workload such cases impose.
Commenting on the situation, Dr Una Adderley a lecturer in community nursing at the University of Leeds, said: "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."
She added that the time pressures involved mean a nurse only has an average of 18 minutes to dress a wound, which is usually not enough to provide the right level of care.
This situation indicates that prevention is better than cure, as the high level of care needed and the lengthy recovery period from ulcers make it more important to avoid an initial wound than it would for someone not suffering from diabetes.
According to Diabetes UK, the danger of sustaining foot injuries is higher for sufferers because raised blood glucose levels can reduce the amount of sensation people can feel in their feet.
The condition can also reduce blood circulation to physical extremities, which impairs the healing process.
Written by Angela Newbury
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