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Published Tuesday 5 Mar 2019

A new way of caring for leg wounds is seeing venous leg ulcers being treated sooner and healing faster.

Community Health Service leader Matthew Callahan, and wound care nurse specialists Natalie Scott and Alice Bourke

Venous leg ulcers are open skin wounds primarily found between the ankle and knee, caused by chronic venous disease.

“Leg ulceration can be a debilitating and very painful condition that can be complex and difficult to treat. It can affect patients’ quality of life and create a financial burden due to loss of work,” said wound care nurse specialist Natalie Scott.

Increased demand for wound care – including complex wounds due to a variety of health factors – led the Community Health Service (CHS) district nursing team to develop an alternative and more effective way to manage wound care.

The new model includes early assessment and intervention, and better educating patients and nurses about the need for this specialised wound care, and having a team of wound care specialist nurses working in advanced wound care in the Wellington, Kenepuru and Kapiti Community Health Service.

“We are seeing Maori and Pasifika patients tending to experience leg ulcers at a much younger age than European patients, which needs further investigation A specialist nurse led clinic has been set up in Porirua East PHO so patients referred by GPs can access wound assessment and treatment closer to where they live.

“Over the 12-14 months we’ve seen an improvement in leg ulcer healing rates in the community. We’re seeing ulcers healing within an average nine-10 weeks from the time a patient is referred to the service, and the majority of patients are completely healed within 24 weeks – compared to 33 weeks in 2016. This is an excellent result for patients.”

Media contact: Chas Te Runa – 027 230 9571