People in rural areas of the Wimmera Grampians now have improved access to evidence-based wound care management close to home with a new pilot project from Western Victoria Primary Health Network (WVPHN).
High prevalence of chronic conditions and associated chronic wounds including leg ulcers and diabetic foot were identified in the Wimmera Grampians region through the WVPHN 2021 Needs Assessment.
In response, WVPHN has developed the Wound Management Training Pilot Project with a focus on building the capacity and skills of the local primary healthcare workforce to improve wound management patient outcomes.
Four general practices in Horsham, Nhill and St Arnaud were each awarded a $12,000 grant for training to improve practitioner skills in wound management.
WVPHN Chief Executive Officer Rowena Clift says that the activities funded by these grants will work to enhance the patient experience and support sustainable improvements to wound care services.
Ms Clift said: “The Wound Management Training Pilot Project broadens the scope of wound management services in primary care in the Wimmera Grampians region, enabling specialised care closer to home. The ability to access care through local general practice or nurse-led wound management clinics reduces the cost of care for chronic wounds by decreasing wait times, travel expenses and potentially preventable hospital admissions.”
The pilot project commenced on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 February 2022, with each of the four participating practices hosting internationally esteemed wound management expert, Professor Geoffrey Sussman, for a training session. Professor Sussman has been involved in wound management for more than 60 years, in clinical research, clinical practice and teaching. He is also an advisor to the Commonwealth Government on wound issues.
Speaking of his involvement in the pilot project, Professor Sussman says that upskilling the local primary care workforce plays an integral role in addressing the high levels of health risks associated with chronic wounds in the Wimmera Grampians region.
“I am pleased to be working with WVPHN to identify the shortcomings in current wound management care in the Wimmera Grampians region. The training sessions provide a trusted source of information to ensure that the primary health care workforce is more equipped to deliver high quality evidence-based care for chronic wound presentations.” Professor Sussman said.
During training sessions with Professor Sussman, participating practitioners also gained skills and knowledge to identify at risk patient cohorts for early detection, intervention and education to prevent the development of a chronic wound.
Through the pilot project, Horsham practices Lister House Medical Clinic and Tristar Medical Group along with Nhill Medical Centre are engaged in a 12-month quality improvement activity to build practitioner capacity in wound care. St Arnaud Medical Centre has utilised the grant to establish the Wimmera Grampians’ first nurse-led wound management clinic, supported by Wounds Australia.
The four practices were also supported through the grants to purchase a doppler machine to conduct non-invasive ultrasounds estimating blood flow in patient’s arms and legs to diagnose a range of conditions.