Patient education about wound care, early detection of foot problems and early appropriate treatment are key to avoiding amputation.

This was stressed by Surgical Registrar at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr. Greg Padmore, as he addressed a recent workshop on Exploring Wound Care Treatment.

According to Dr. Padmore, amputation was always the last resort, and often occurred due to the late presentation of the problem or inappropriate intervention prior to admission. At this stage, he explained, amputation will often save the patient???s life.

The workshop, hosted by the Diabetes Foundation as part of the activities for Diabetes Month, attracted more than 50 doctors and nurses from medical institutions around the island .They were exposed to the latest technology in wound care and met specialists in the private and public medical sectors in Barbados.

The workshop focused on the multi-disciplinary approach to managing the diabetic foot wound. Podiatrist, Rosamund James, during her presentation on Management of the Diabetic Foot Wound ??? A Case Study, outlined how to appropriately assess the diabetic foot, while wound care specialist, Nurse Veronica Webster, gave a nurse???s perspective on Neuroplastic and Ischemic Wounds.

Her presentation stressed the appropriate selection of dressings and the need to know the properties of dressings before applying them to wounds.

The participants also heard from podiatrist and trustee of the Diabetes Centre and Barbados Diabetes Foundation, Simone McConnie, who, along with her assistant, podiatrist Amor Forde, demonstrated the proper use of the vacuum assisted closure (VAC) mobile machine.

The machine, which is a product provided by the workshop???s sponsor, AA Laquis, can be used in the treatment of diabetic patients who have undergone radical surgery to salvage the foot. When used in the treatment of wounds, it can facilitate rapid closure, and result in a shorter care time for the patient.

Organisers of the workshop stressed that with the persistently high rate of amputations in Barbados, wound care workshops were vital to enhancing the care of the diabetic foot, the goal being to realise a reduction in limb amputation.

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