June 2022 edition

Wound healing is an absolute prerequisite for healthy living and wellbeing. While in the last few decades there have been considerable advances in the science of tissue repair, chronic wound management practices have remained generally inconsistent. The treatment of wounds consumes an inordinate amount of the Australian health budget. Wound care practices can and must be optimised.

My own interest and management of chronic wounds with a specialty background as a General Surgeon span over 30 years. However, wound management belongs to no single clinical specialty and thus there is a range of specialty‑based treatments with varied outcomes. The breadth of chronic wound aetiologies is considerable:

  • skin tears
  • pressure injuries
  • diabetic foot ulceration
  • venous and arterial leg ulcers
  • autoimmune/dermatological conditions
  • burns
  • compromised surgical wounds
  • malignancy.

These various wound types do require a specific diagnosis and subsequent tailored treatment. While some of these wounds can be complex, most chronic wounds do not require management in an inpatient setting. Unfortunately, that is not an uncommon practice weighing on our overburdened hospitals.

In 2018, as part of the Leading Better Value Care (LBVC) initiative, I was involved in a statewide workshop with specialist wound clinicians from across the state. The LBVC program aims to accelerate value based healthcare in NSW. It involves clinicians, networks and organisations working together on highimpact initiatives to improve outcomes and experiences for people with specific conditions. The outcome of this workshop was to provide a platform where health services can improve the way chronic wounds are managed. Once fully implemented, this would contribute to better experiences of receiving and providing care, enhanced outcomes for patients, carers and families and optimised use of resources.

It is very pleasing to see the benefits of the LBVC Chronic Wound initiative coming to fruition. There are examples of improved wound care on the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s LBVC website. But there are more benefits for patients that remain to be gained. 

The feature story in this edition of the VBHC Update explores some of NSW Health’s current priorities for improving wound management across the state. The case studies spotlight different local health district teams, including Central Coast Local Health District, and their local valuebased healthcare approaches to wound management.

If we continue to work collaboratively and share knowledge and experiences, we can make an enormous difference for patients with complex and chronic wounds.

Our patients deserve nothing less! 

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