An NHS podiatrist has developed an innovative new foot care pack to help diabetic patients spot problems which could result in amputations
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Podiatry Manager, Audrey Murdoch, who is based at Townhead Clinic in Kirkintilloch, explained: “Patients with diabetes can lose sensation in their feet so if they don’t feel pain, they can be unaware if they have caused damage when they stub their toe, or have a blister. If they don’t check their feet regularly, this can lead to serious infection and in some cases to amputation.”
Audrey got the idea for the pack after completing a travel scholarship at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia. She said: “The podiatrists there had included a mirror in the pack to help patients see the soles of their feet. Our pack also includes a mirror but we have improved it to include a footfile, emergency dressings which patients can use should they developed a sore and information on looking after their feet.”
The main aims of the pack is to empower patients to look after their feet and to prevent diabetic patients from developing foot ulcers and thereby avoiding the complications which can lead to gangrene and amputation.
Audrey added: “We hope the packs will educate patients about foot care so they check their feet daily and look after them. If they do find any cuts and sores, they can use the emergency dressings, then get the help and advice they need to deal with the problem quickly. All of this means cutting down on hospital admissions and preventing amputations.”
Packs will be distributed to all podiatry staff and diabetic nurses within East Dunbartonshire. Every high-risk diabetic patient will be given a pack as part of their education and screening session, and if successful, the scheme could be rolled out across Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
The idea for the diabetic foot pack was awarded one of the first NHSGGC Ideas in Action awards which recognises good ideas put forward by staff to improve services for patients or their own working environment.
Notes to editors
According to Diabetes UK, 100 people a week in the UK have a lower limb amputation as a result of diabetes. Of these, 75 per cent die within five years of having an amputation.
Diabetes is the second most common cause of lower limb amputation in the UK after trauma. People with diabetes are 15 times more at risk of lower limb amputation than people without the condition.
Half the general public do not associate diabetes with amputation and one in three people with diabetes do not realise that having the condition puts them at risk.
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