Patients across Wiltshire are the first in the South West to benefit from an innovative new treatment for leg ulcers which has already changed the lives of around 40 patients.
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Community Nursing Teams have invested in a sleek compression treatment, which means patients with venous leg ulcers can now fit trousers over the top of the treatment and wear shoes, transforming the lives of many with this long term condition.
Previously, patients relied on cumbersome layered bandages, which not only required regular and lengthy applications, but also restricted mobility and clothing choices. The bandages can take up to an hour to apply and have to be changed regularly. The new treatment can be applied in just 20 minutes and adjusted by the patient themselves where appropriate, helping to maintain independence.
The treatment, initially trialled in Melksham, Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge, is being rolled out to a further 100 patients across Wiltshire throughout August. It is hoped that by the end of the year around 250 patients will benefit, accessing the treatment through community nursing teams and practice nurses.
This new approach is expected to save the trust at least £40,000 a year by reducing the length and frequency of nursing visits, with time saved being used to visit more patients.
Gill Wicks, Consultant Nurse and Tissue Viability Lead for Wiltshire, said: “The new treatment is much more patient friendly and has had a massive impact on the quality of life for so many of our people in Wiltshire.
“This is a really exciting development and we’re looking forward to offering this new treatment to more of our patients.”
Tom Edwards, a 93-year-old retired builder from Melksham, is one of the trial’s participants. He said: “The new treatment has been really beneficial to me. My leg has practically healed up. It was a bit of a mess before, but now I sleep better and I can put shoes on again.
“I was going to throw my shoes out because I didn’t think I’d be able to wear them anymore. Instead I’m getting about much more easily and I’m able to go to the races.”
Gill Wicks has written an article on the subject for The Journal of Community Nursing which will be published this month.