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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | December 2020

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Impact of specialist intervention on VLU healing rates in the community

Impact of specialist intervention on VLU healing rates in the community
Wound Care

Article topics: Venous leg ulcer, Venous leg ulceration

Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) are known to place a significant burden on healthcare services, with unhealed ulcers costing 135% more than their healed counterparts over the course of a year (Guest et al, 2016). This is a consequence of unwarranted variation in care attributed to difficulties experienced by non-specialist clinicians caring for VLU in the community. VLU healing rates are relatively unknown, and national targets for healing do not yet exist, but there is evidence in the literature that specialist VLU services improve healing rates (Moffatt et al, 1992). Healogics is a specialist third party provider of VLU and lymphoedema services to the NHS, that takes a systematic approach to the assessment and management of these co-existing conditions. This paper presents the healing rates of 1015 people with VLU treated by Healogics for the full 65-month duration of an any qualified provider (AQP) contract. Healing rates of 86.14% were obtained in an average of 117 days in line with the published healing rates from other specialist leg ulcer services (Moffatt et al, 1992; Edwards et al, 2005). The healing rates reported in this paper demonstrate that a consistent, specialist approach to VLU management that is underpinned by best practice and national guidelines can help to achieve timely healing in the majority of patients, and can identify more complex patients for whom healing is not possible, enabling them to be placed on a maintenance pathway. The authors suggest that grading of VLUs according to complexity and data collection and analysis of healing rates could help to improve healing outcomes on a national level.

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