HSJ/Nursing times round table discussion supported by Smith & Nephew

10 February 2017

Education holds the key to better wound care

Christine O'Connor and Alison Hopkins were delighted to be invited to participate in a roundtable discussion organised by HSJ/Nursing Times and supported by Smith & Nephew. The event brought together a group of nursing and non-clinical leaders to discuss how optimising wound management could lead to better patient outcomes and better value.

Christine O'Connor PictureChristine talked about when she worked as a director of commissioning. She was used to meetings covering an array of clinical issues. She was also used to having detailed indications of prevalence and cost for many conditions. She said “When I sat in those meetings, if somebody talked to me about diabetes I knew exactly what we were talking about; if somebody talked to me about heart failure, issues around cardiac care, I knew what we were talking about.”

But she remembers one significant exception. “If we went into the area of wound care, we went into a black hole, and we put a line under it and said we’re not going there. And I think if we’re being realistic, the majority of commissioners out there are faced with that black hole. They really do not know where to start. But the reality is that actually if somebody spent some time looking at this, we actually could save a lot of money and still give best care.”

How many people today have a wound, no one would know

Picture of Alison Hopkins, CEOAlison echoed the theme of a black hole. “If you want to know nationally how many people have diabetes, the data is there. But how many people today have a wound, no one would know. You have to do it through audit, which really is a paper-based exercise, which is very time consuming. And even that doesn’t tell the story, because the longevity, the duration of the wound, is what you need to capture because that’s where the cost is.”

What that means, she suggested, is that it’s very difficult to convince budget holders that investing in better wound care will ultimately lead to savings. “The reason investment is difficult in this area is simply because it’s all in different pots. If you really knew the impact of non-healing wounds on nursing productivity, and infection rates, and analgesia usage and put it all together, I do believe it would be easy to see where you could make significant savings. But we just don’t have that data.”

The write ups make fascinating reading, click on the links to read the reports on both the HSJ and Nursing Times websites.