Legs Matter Awareness Week: the hidden harm crisis in the treatment of leg and foot conditions

Legs Matter Awareness Week: the hidden harm crisis in the treatment of leg and foot conditions

We are proud supporters of Leg Matters Awareness week 2024!

Legs Matter is a non-profit organisation dedicated to educating patients and healthcare professionals on the current medical issues in leg and foot care. Legs Matter provides an online hub filled with medical education tools designed to drive knowledge and understanding of leg-related healthcare issues from sickle cell and leg ulcers to oedema (swelling) and blood clots.

Each year, Legs Matter hosts an awareness week to promote discussions around growing leg and foot health issues as well as areas of concern. Through partnering with other healthcare organisations, Legs Matter is able to shine a light on innovations and developments helping to transform leg and foot care.

This year’s Legs Matter week is hosted between 10th -14th June and will focus on the hidden harm crisis in the treatment of leg and foot conditions. This includes conditions that are not being treated adequately, subsequently causing more harm than necessary to patients.

The total annual NHS cost of wound management is £8.3 billion1 . Around £2 billion2 is spent on the treatment of venous leg ulcers (VLUs) – the most prevalent type of leg ulcer, making up more than 60 percent3 of all cases. Early intervention and patient adherence are therefore crucial to reducing the physical and emotional burden on patients, as well as the financial burden on healthcare systems.

The 10 point-plan to tackle harm

    1. Acknowledge it as harm – recognising the consequences of insufficient care, the harm this causes and monitoring and recording system delays.
    2. Change the language – shifting from ‘managing’ conditions to ‘healing’ can drive improved patient outcomes.
    3. Give immediate and necessary care – implement the guidance in the National Wound Care Strategy to provide immediate care.
    4. Access to evidence-based practice – ensure every patient has access to a treatment plan and local pathway.
    5. Increase access to the right products at the right time – remove restrictions that prevent patients and clinicians accessing timely and correct treatment.
    6. Actively listen to patients – personalising care, encouraging an active role in patients’ treatment, and taking their views on their conditions seriously and act immediately.
    7. Address systemic knowledge and skills gaps – identify the variation in care and health inequalities to enhance knowledge and skills.
    8. Don’t be afraid to escalate – escalation for a second opinion demonstrates good care.
    9. Actively challenge the system – do not let acceptance of non-healing, system delays or capacity issues prevent action towards eliminating patient harm.
    10. Change the system – introduce contracted leg and foot standardised pathways.

 

Demanding more, enforcing change

Driving change in the wider system requires evidence that indicates current care is not sufficient in delivering improved patient outcomes. In the case of wound care, it has been reported that between 12-52 percent4 of patients adhere to standard of care, highlighting the critical need of innovation to drive enhanced healing.

To find out more about Legs Matter and what they are doing to make a change, visit: https://legsmatter.org/legs-matter-week/

For more information about how the geko™ device reduces pain5 – a key benefit of accelerated healing6, click here.

Lets raise the alarm on hidden harm!

References:

1. https://legsmatter.org/about-us/the-cost-of-care/
2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/iwj.13366
3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leg-ulcer/
4. Finlayson K, Edwards H, Courtney M. The impact of psychosocial factors on adherence to compression therapy to prevent recurrence of venous leg ulcers. J Clin Nurs. 2010 May;19(9-10):1289-9 doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.2009.03151.x. PMID: 20500338.
5. Jones N et al, BR Nurs 2018: 27(20): S16-s21
6. Bull R et al. Int Wound J: 2023;1-9

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