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Austin Health Clinical Nurse Wound Consultant, Greer Hosking, estimates she sees about 10 to 15 patients per week with a chronic wound.
“Leg ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers and pressure injuries resulting in bed sores are the most common chronic wounds,” she says.
“Chronic wounds develop when a wound fails to heal for 30 days or more – the warning signs include heat and pain, wounds with a foul odour or wounds that have a thick, yellowish fluid. The elderly population are most at risk as well as those with chronic diseases such as diabetes.”
COVID-19 has also had an impact as patients haven’t been receiving face to face care.
As it’s Wounds Awareness Week, Greer says it’s an important reminder for the community to see a health care professional for a referral to a wound care specialist if they notice or suspect their loved one has a chronic wound.
“They can assess the wound, find the likely cause and commence appropriate treatment, which can include referral onto another medical specialist,” Greer says.
Wounds are estimated to cost the health system $3 billion every year and if left untreated, they’re not only debilitating, but can also be life threatening.
“Diabetic foot ulcers can result in amputation if not managed appropriately with specialist care such as a Podiatrist. When a person has an amputation, the risk of having another amputation increases. However, all wounds have the potential to deteriorate if not treated appropriately,” Greer says.
For further information, visit Austin Health's Chronic Wound Service.