Close the wound gap

Pharmacists are being urged to take a leading role in dealing with Australia’s “hidden affliction” of chronic wounds during Wound Awareness Week (July 15-21).

Although chronic wounds can be healed, they often go untreated because Australians are “blind to wounds’” according to Wounds Australia, with many not recognising that when they have a non-healing wound they should, immediately seek medical support to treat it.

“Chronic wounds are a hidden affliction in Australia and must be recognised as a serious health issue, to safeguard our ageing population,” Wounds Australia CEO Anne Buck said.

“Pharmacists need to educate at-risk patients, to support and empower them and help raise awareness of chronic wounds.”

People who don’t realise they have a chronic wound can suffer without treatment for years.

As part of Wound Awareness Week, Wounds Australia’s ‘Let’s talk about wounds’ campaign is urging pharmacists to encourage conversations with their patients about wounds that won’t heal, so they understand the wound warning signs, who is at risk and what action to take if they have a chronic wound.

Ms Buck says pharmacists have an especially important role to play in raising wound awareness for at-risk clients, such as those who receive ongoing medication for diabetes.

Wounds Australia is urging pharmacists to build their expertise in wound management by continuing their professional development with the organisation. This, it says, will ensure Australians are receiving the best treatment and advice for wound care.

“One of the key barriers we’ve seen for all healthcare professionals – from GPs and nurses to Indigenous health workers and pharmacists – is a lack of ongoing wound-care education,” Ms Buck said. “With continual development of their skills, patients will receive the best care, and they will reduce the impact that chronic wounds are having on the population.”

Chronic wounds are described as an alarmingly common problem that costs Australia’s health system $3 billion annually. The number of sufferers is expected to soar due to Australia’s ageing population, with people aged 65 and over most at risk.