June 2022 edition : Leading Better Value Care

Since 2009, Hunter New England Local Health District have been using wound algorithms to care for patients.

Following this work, other districts are now implementing algorithms as part of their Leading Better Value Care program strategies. 

Hunter New England Local Health District provides a range of public health services to the Hunter, New England and Lower Mid North Coast regions. Due to its size, there can be some variation in wound management practice. This was considered to be contributing to less than optimal wound healing outcomes. With a limited number of specialist wound management clinicians over a large geographical area, the district also needed to build capacity and confidence with an easy to understand tool.

The district saw an opportunity to develop wound algorithms to reduce practice variation in wound management. These algorithms provide a clinical pathway and escalation process for different wound types commonly seen in the community health setting.

Our generalist community nurses need to be highly skilled in many facets of community nursing, with minimal support. Wound algorithms allow community nurses to be confident in providing excellence in wound management to our community members regardless of where they reside and have a local process for escalation to additional clinical care if needed.

With well established algorithms, consumers can be assured they are receiving evidence based practice wound management in their local community without placing extra pressure on limited wound management resources.

Improved outcomes for patients

The introduction of wound algorithms in the district has resulted in:

  • decreased clinical variation – community nurses have a consistent threshold for referral and escalation
  • empowered staff – nurses can make decisions, implement best practice, and adopt the algorithm as an educational tool
  • consistency of resources – staff are equipped with the same resources they can trust
  • efficient use of staffing resources – specialist wound management clinicians can prioritise and use their skills to manage more complex and chronic wounds.  
All of these factors contribute to improved patient outcomes and clinician experience.

Clinicians in Hunter New England have been using wound care algorithms for some years. These have been shared with other districts to adopt or adapt to local needs.

Current as at: Wednesday 22 June 2022
Contact page owner: Strategic Reform and Planning