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Featured News Help needed to prevent diabetes-related foot complications

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Thu, 16 Jul 2020

Help needed to prevent diabetes-related foot complications

Diabetes kit

It’s National Diabetes Week and researchers want to hear from people suffering from diabetic-related foot disease, and their carers.

James Cook University, Townsville University Hospital and Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Services health professionals are conducting the study on a condition that leads to thousands of foot amputations every year in Australia.

JCU lecturer Dr Aaron Drovandi said the team is working on developing a better management program for people with diabetic foot disease.

“About half of those who experience a diabetic foot issue have recurring issues within a year and this often leads to amputation or other significant consequences, so we want to see if we can effectively intervene at an earlier stage,” said Dr Drovandi.

A 2012 study found that in Australia, ulceration of the feet affects up to 10 percent of people with diabetes each year. As many as 3400 amputations are performed each year, costing between $48-$53 million in hospital costs and up to $330 million overall in community costs.

The research team is working towards developing a management program that assists people with a history of diabetic foot disease (ulcers, infection, amputation) to better prevent recurrence of foot problems.

“The first stage of the research is surveys both for patients and health professionals who manage these patients. We are now looking for people from both of these groups to contribute to the survey, and potentially a voluntary phone interview,” said Dr Drovandi.

He said the team will gather patient and carer perspectives of living with diabetes-related foot disease and related complications, and health professional perspectives on preventing these complications.

“Then we plan to use the results from the surveys and phone interviews to design a community-based, remotely delivered prevention program to reduce the negative leg and foot related complications of diabetes.”

He said delivering care at least partially through remote means may help to reduce the burden of multiple visits to specialists, as well as improve the standard of care for those who live great distances away from specialists.

Dr Drovandi said the contribution of people with diabetes and that of relevant health professionals is critical to ensure the design of an effective prevention program.

Links to the surveys can be found here: https://www.jcu.edu.au/qrcpvd/get-involved/qrc-pvd-research-study-impact