Australia’s peak body for wound care Wounds Australia has today launched a five point policy plan for the government to address Australia’s ‘hidden affliction’ of chronic wounds.
Wounds Australia is promoting its plan and drawing much needed attention to chronic wounds during Wound Awareness Week – which runs from 15 to 21 July. The plan calls for the government to support:
- Medicare funding for treatment of chronic wounds in primary health care
- Subsidised treatment products, such as dressings, for at-risk people
- $2m for a 4-year major public health awareness campaign
- Wound care training for primary health care and aged care workforces
- Mapping care pathways for chronic wounds – to help patients navigate the health system and find the specialist treatment they need
Despite the lack of awareness of chronic wounds in Australia, it is an alarmingly common affliction – costing Australia’s health system $3 billion annually and causing unnecessary suffering for close to half a million Australians at any point in time.
“We need action to address chronic wounds in Australia to help stop people suffering.” Wounds Australia CEO Anne Buck said.
“We’re calling for our five point plan to be implemented, to reduce the burden on the health system, and stop chronic wounds affecting the lives of so many Australians.”
People who don’t realise they have a chronic wound can suffer without treatment for years.
David Templeman lived unknowingly with a chronic wound for most of his life, after injuring his leg playing football in 1970.
While David assumed it was a minor injury, his leg continued to bother him. But it wasn't until February 2017 when he sought treatment after a major flare up in the same spot that he discovered he'd been living with a venous leg ulcer – which can be treated and healed.
“I wish I knew to ask the question ‘is this a chronic wound?" said David. "My one piece of advice is that you shouldn’t suffer in silence – if a wound doesn’t show signs of going away within 4 weeks, you need to treat it seriously and seek appropriate medical assistance.”
Wounds Australia CEO Anne Buck said: “It’s an unnecessary tragedy that most Australians are ‘blind to wounds’ – they don’t recognise when they have one, or know that there is treatment available.”
Ms Buck went on to say that: “Chronic wounds are a huge burden for sufferers and their families – they lead to not only physical and health complications, but can also seriously impact on people’s social and emotional wellbeing, as well as their financial security.”
Chronic wounds are those wounds that don’t show signs of healing in 30 days. The number of sufferers is expected to soar due to demographic trends in Australia – those most at risk are either over the age of 65, have chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease, or reduced mobility.
If you are interested in reading the full details of the five point plan Click Here