Foot health is taking the right steps at Dubbo Hospital, with the first multidisciplinary High Risk Foot Service for the region.
The new $211,791 service will also look after the northern communities through the use of Telehealth, which helps overcome barriers around distance and travel for patients.
The High Risk Foot Service is one of eight Leading Better Value Care (LBVC) initiatives established by the NSW Government in July 2017.
The Diabetes High Risk Foot Service is a state-wide approach to improving care for people with diabetes-related foot complications by focusing on early intervention for people with ulcers and infections to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions.
Allied Health Manager Jenny Wheeler explained, “The goal of this service is to actively identify, manage and treat patients with high-risk foot complications and reduce both the number of patients who need specialist treatment and the number of amputations.”
“We will be able to deliver a first class service for patients through the multidisciplinary service involving a podiatrist, diabetic educator, Aboriginal health worker, dietitian, social workers and an allied health assistant.
“Patients will also have access to vascular and orthopaedic surgeons as required.”
The service will include two new state of the art podiatry chairs, funded by Westfund. The chairs, which cost $16,000, will play an essential role in ensuring patient comfort and safety.
“Working in partnership with the patient’s primary health care practitioners will be essential to ensure that the patient receives the right care in the right place at the right time,” Western NSW LHD Leading Better Value Care Project Manager,” Dianne Harvey said.
“Better value health care is about working with the patient to improve their experience and ensure the best outcomes are achieved.”
For people with diabetes, chronic health failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or peripheral neuropathy, foot health is extremely important.
Bad foot health can lead to serious complication issues such as infections, ulcerations or in serious cases, loss of a limb. It can also have a serious impact on mental and physical health.
Referrals can be made by patients’ GP or health professional. The GP will be able to determine if the foot is high risk ensuring referral to the correct foot clinic.
The NSW Government has invested $38 million in the 2018-19 NSW budget to tackle obesity, $25 million of which has been allocated specifically to fight childhood obesity.