An innovative new health service dedicated to wound care is set to improve access to specialist care for patients across the country, and is already having significant impact.
Chronic wounds cost the Australian health system over $3 billion a year. Combined with an ageing population, patients can suffer in silence for years, even decades, with this costly chronic health problem leading to many avoidable amputations. One of the many causes of this silent epidemic is that patients must navigate a complicated, fragmented system where not all health professionals use routine best practice to get their wounds treated.
A national model of service delivery whereby the health professionals work in a truly collaborative partnership across the continuum to improve patient outcomes.
The Wound Management Innovation CRC—together with hospitals, aged and community care, and key bodies and organisations—has developed a service that is already transforming the lives of patients. Research from the CRC has shown that for a patient to be successfully treated, a trans-disciplinary team approach is required – no one health professional can treat a chronic wound due to the many underlying chronic health conditions requiring specialist care.
Through support from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), an innovative new health service has been developed, dedicated to wound care with a focus on clinical best-practice, education and research. The service is improving access to specialist care for patients with wounds across the country by providing an ambulatory clinic, national telehealth and wound advisory service, keeping patients out of hospital and making advanced wound treatments more accessible.
The newly developed service – Wound Innovations – solves the problem in two very innovative ways. Firstly, the patient attends one site (at their location in Spring Hill, QLD or nationally via telehealth) where their entire clinical specialist team is involved from start to finish in fully comprehensive two-hour appointment. Secondly, the latest innovations in research-based treatment are utilised. This service is set to see a dramatic reduction in costs to the health system.
The centre also provides education to health professionals through a series of clinical education workshops and seminars, ensuring the uptake of evidence based treatment in the clinical setting. The service has already had positive impact on the lives of patients. One patient had previously been going to see his GP once a week for wound dressings that he and his daughter would need to change between visits due to swelling and extreme pain.
Since admission to Wound Innovations, the patient has had a comprehensive assessment of his health and lower limbs to confirm the aetiology (diagnosis) of ulceration (chronic venous leg ulcers) and initiate evidence-based treatment. The ulcers have reduced in size by more than 80% within three weeks of his appointments with Wound Innovations and wound healing is anticipated within two to four weeks.