How can Shared Care and Patient Self-management Advance wound Care in the UK?

How can Shared Care and Patient Self-management Advance wound Care in the UK?

Wound care is typically delivered by community nurses who visit patients’ homes to clean and re-dress chronic wounds, with more severe cases being treated by wound specialists like tissue viability nurses or vascular surgeons in wound clinics or hospitals – and it is estimated that more than 80% of the total annual NHS cost for treating annual wounds is incurred in the community.

2020 study by Guest et al calculated the annual level of resources used in wound management, estimating “54.4 million district/community nurse visits, 53.6 million healthcare assistant visits and 28.1 million practice nurse visits”. These numbers indicate the high demand for wound care across the UK and the time and resources required from the NHS.

The role of self-management

Patient self-management (also known as self-regulation, patient involvement/partnership, patient education and patient counselling) is becoming an increasingly important part of healthcare and recovery. Self-care has a plethora of benefits including improved mood, reduced anxiety and increased trust. As NHS resources are stretched, patients who are able to play a more active role in their healing journey could reap more benefits than patients who are reliant on a caregiver or healthcare professional to deliver all aspects of treatment.

The role if shared-care

Shared care models are reported to increase patient satisfaction with their care, as they take a more active role in their treatment rather than being a passive recipient. The involvement itself can improve wound outcomes but also contribute to reducing health costs and improved quality of life. In wound care, this role extends to an informal caregiver who can support the patient with day to day activities and assist with elements of wound care.

The help of MedTech

In an ideal world, patients would be able to bandage their own wounds to reduce the need for frequent visits from community nurses, however even where patients build the knowledge base to dress a wound independently, it is possible that not enough pressure will be applied to best support recovery. For venous leg ulcers, this can have significant negative impacts on the healing process.

New solutions are being adopted into care pathways with the aim of simplifying care and improving patient outcomes, innovations in MedTech are becoming increasingly designed for patients to be able to easily and safely self-administer or share their care. For example, the geko™ device, our small non-invasive, wearable, neuromuscular electrostimulation technology, is now available that can be quickly and safely be applied and used alongside compression therapy to drive up adherence levels and accelerate wound healing for patients.

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