Wound Awareness Week [transcript][audio]

Guest: Anne Buck

Presenter: Tabetha Moreto

Guest Bio: Anne Buck is the CEO of Wounds Australia. Anne has extensive experience in health policy and the not for profit sector. She was previously a senior executive with Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health and the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses. Anne’s career focus has reflected a strong interest in the areas of health, employment and social policy sectors.

Segment Overview: In today’s interview, Anne Buck from Wounds Australia talks about Wound Awareness Week, the causes of chronic wounds as well as what can be done to prevent them.


Tabetha Moreto: Hello everyone, welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host for today Tabetha Moreto. Our guest today is Anne Buck, the CEO of Wounds Australia. Her career focus has reflected a strong interest in the areas of health, employment and social policy sectors. Today, we’re going to talk about Wound Awareness Week. Wounds Australia is calling on health professionals to focus on value for patients with chronic wounds to tackling rising care costs. Without further ado, welcome to the show Anne. I’m very happy you can join us today.

Anne Buck: Thank You Tabetha. It’s lovely to be here with you today.

T: Yes, my pleasure. So Anne, please tell the audience more about yourself and your organization.

A: So Wounds Australia is the peak body for wound care and management in Australia. We have a membership of around 3,000 health professionals and our role is to advance wound care and management through advocacy, education and research. Your listeners may actually know about Wounds Australia under our former name which was the Australian Wound Management Association but we changed our name in 2015 when we became a single national entity and that’s the name under which we’re advancing our Wound Awareness Week.

T: That’s excellent. Speaking of Wound Awareness Week, what are the key topics that will be included for this year’s Wound Awareness Week?

A: Wound Awareness Week this year is continuing our theme that we established last year which is to be wound aware. So we’re basing our campaign around our woundaware.com.au website and our goal is to raise awareness of what chronic wounds are, who’s most likely to experience chronic wounds and to educate and raise awareness among the general public as to what the warning signs are of chronic wounds. And in this we’re running a social media campaign and we’re also encouraging health professionals across the country to get behind the campaign and to spread the word about the warning signs of wounds to their patients and their carers and also to their colleague.

T: That sounds excellent. So can you please tell me what are the causes of chronic wounds and what are the available treatments for them?

A: Okay. So when we’re talking about chronic wounds, we’re talking about a wound that is slow to heal or is a complex wound that might keep coming back. A chronic wound is almost always associated with the underlying chronic conditions that affect blood supply or the cellular function of the affected area. And some of the common types of wounds we’re talking about are venous leg ulcers, pressure injuries, wound to the feet in people with diabetes and skin tears. And the treatment for them will vary depending on the type of wound but what I would like to get across is that there are definitely specialists wound services available that mean that we can heal these chronic wounds. So the foot disease for people with diabetes experience, it can become a serious ulcer and with infections that can lead to amputation if it’s left untreated. But there’s a lot of evidence that shows that a multidisciplinary treatment involving a podiatrist, your general practitioner, a number of other health professionals including potentially vascular surgeons mean that we can definitely treat those wounds and prevent the amputation risk. With venous leg ulcers which are another common category of chronic wounds, we know that the best practice gold standard treatment is compression therapy. And so with compression therapy, those venous leg ulcers can be treated and can heal. During winter when asleep, we’re talking about this so because so many people don’t get that best practiced treatment and aren’t able to or don’t know to access healthcare and specialist wound care treatment and so they live and they suffer with these wounds when they don’t need to.

T: Yes. I see that this is a very complex condition that a lot of people don’t even understand. I’m curious Anne, I want to ask you a question, you mentioned earlier that diabetics are people who are usually prone to chronic wounds. So aside from diabetics, are there other people prone to chronic wounds?

A: People can be prone to venous leg ulcers if they have a history of a blood clot in their leg or maybe they’ve had a venous leg ulcer before. So some of the risk factors are multiple pregnancies, varicose veins, obesity. So that’s another risk group. And people who have common chronic diseases around cardiovascular disease are also prone to chronic wounds. And of course, people who are old over 65 are also more likely to have chronic wounds or wounds that are hard to heal and that comes with the underlying health of the individual.

T: Yes, I see. Thank you very much for explaining that because from what I know, it’s usually diabetics who have chronic wounds but thank you for explaining to me the other groups or groups of people who are also prone to chronic wounds. Now, let’s talk about prevention. How can chronic wounds be prevented?

A: Okay. So look, it won’t come as any surprise to your listeners to know that generally, the same sorts of health lifestyle messages that you are delivering to your patients every day what it needed here. So things like reducing alcohol consumption, reducing caffeine, not smoking, getting exercise and physical activity are all good ways to make sure that you’re reducing the risk of chronic wound. But there are also some things that are more specific that people can do to prevent some types of wounds. So the venous leg ulcers that I’ve mentioned, there have been studies undertaken by the Wound Management Innovation CRC. So that’s a Cooperative Research Center that focuses on wound research. They have done, they undertake research and support research in wound care and one of their studies shows that an hour of day of elevating the legs will make a patient 16 times less likely to have a venous leg ulcer. So given the big impact that a venous leg ulcer have on the individual’s life and then for us across the community and across the health system, that’s a pretty amazing preventative tick to have, to know that the elevating of the legs which is something that is quite a practical and achievable prevention strategy will work. Another one I’d like your listeners to know about is it’s once again, business research that came out of the Wound CRC with a study looked at what should be done to reduce a skin tear. So your listeners are probably don’t be aware that a skin tear is a break in the skin that usually in older adults and that is caused by just a minor bump or knock. Those skin tears can be very easily reduced through the simple application of moisturizer to the skin. So moisturizing the skin twice a day can lead to a 50% reduction in skin tears. Once again, that’s some really practical prevention tip and technique that we can apply as individuals but also in services or residential aged care facilities. That’s something that’s got to be and it should be quite practical to implement. So there’s some uniquely important prevention tips that I hope your listeners can work with that and help us prevent wounds through spreading information about those types of prevention tips.

T: Yes. Thank you so much for sharing those tips with us. It’s very helpful and as you already mentioned earlier, the majority of the listeners of Health Professional Radio are health professionals. So these tips will be very helpful for them especially when it comes to chronic wounds especially this is a topic that a lot of people don’t really talk about and sometimes, this is a topic that’s not very discussed. But thanks to you and the people who are passionate about promoting the awareness of chronic wounds, people will know more about this and understand this better.

A: Thank you. Look and you see support and the chance to talk to Health Professional Radio is really important to us in Wound Awareness Week, so the health professional has a really big role in spreading awareness about chronic wound and it’s great that we can we can tell, talk to you today about it.

T: Yes, my pleasure. Thank you so much again. By the way Anne, are there any misconceptions about chronic wounds or even about your organization that you want to clear up on the show today?

A: No. I think probably the big misconception that I would like to make sure everybody takes away from today is that wounds can heal and my members have hear about people who have been dealing with their chronic wounds and have had their chronic wound for maybe months or even years. And they know that if they can get that person, the right treatment and the specialist treatment, then that wound can be healed and that’s something that your listeners might not be wound care specialists. But as health professionals, if you see a patient who has a wound that they’ve been suffering with for a while, then I would hope that you will take the time to help your patient find a specialist wound service or talk to their GP so that their GP can help them find a specialist wound service because a chronic wound can be a painful and really debilitating experience that impacts on people’s physical, and social and emotional well-being and we want to do everything we can to make sure that people heal their wounds and can actually go back to living a happy normal life.

T: Excellent. Thank you so much for clearing up those misconceptions. And I’m really sorry, we’re almost out of time. So before we go, what is your main takeaway message to all of our listeners out there?

A: My main takeaway message is be aware of the wound warning signs, pain and heat, odor, excess fluid and slow healing. Make sure you as health professionals are aware of both wound warning signs and take the time to educate your patients, and your family, your friends, your colleagues to be wound aware. You can find out more about our Wound Awareness Week Campaign on our website which is www.woundaware.com.au.

T: Excellent. Thank you so much Anne. And one more question before we go, for anybody who’s interested in participating in Wound Awareness Week or they want to reach out to Wound Australia, how can they get in touch with you guys?

A: So they can get in touch with us through our woundaware.com.au website or by contacting Wounds Australia on our 1800 number, that’s 1800 870 855 or through our Wounds Australia website which is www.woundsaustralia.com.au.

T: Excellent. Thank you so much Anne for coming on the show today. I really appreciate that.

A: Thank You Tabetha for the opportunity to talk to you and your listeners.

T: And that was Anne Buck, CEO of Wounds Australia. We’ve just been talking about the upcoming Wound Awareness Week and what kind of care is needed for people with chronic wounds. If you liked this interview, transcripts and archives are available at www.hpr.fm. We’re on all social media platforms so don’t forget to follow, like and subscribe. We’re also available for download on SoundCloud and iTunes. I’m Tabetha Moreto and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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