Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


High Risk Foot Service saving diabetic feet one step at a time

Diabetes now affects more than 1 in 11 adults globally (463 million), and that number is continuously on the rise.

This year the Podiatry team has initiated a High-Risk Foot Service model of care to reduce the instance of foot ulcers, hospitalisation and amputation for diabetes patients.

Diabetes can lead to nerve, circulation and structural change in the foot, which increase the likelihood of patients developing an ulcer that is difficult to heal - potentially leading to amputation. 

“Diabetic foot disease is one of the top 20 causes of preventable public hospital admission in Australia, with more than 4,400 amputations required each year,” Austin Health Podiatry Manager, Sam Hanna, said.

“Eighty-five per cent of these are preventable with early treatment, so we’re introducing a new model of care to try and increase early intervention in the community.”

Having now recruited most of the multi-disciplinary team, the service is providing care to an increasing number of patients.  ​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​“We currently see 240 outpatient appointments per month, with many patients visiting weekly or fortnightly. And we anticipate that we will more than double the number of new referrals seen at the service compared to last year,” said Sam.

​​​​​​​“We have dramatically reduced the time from referral receipt to first appointment, however we are aiming for National standards which we are still on our way to achieving,” Sam said.  

The service partners with community health services, GPs and community nursing services in a two-way referral pathway and, in some cases, shared care arrangement.  

“We also aim to engage and inform the community on early intervention for diabetes-related foot concerns.”

1 in 2 adults with diabetes remain undiagnosed – the majority have type 2 diabetes – and the disease was responsible for at least $760 billion in health expenditure in 2019, which was 10% of the global total spent on healthcare.

World Diabetes Day was Sunday 14 November.

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