Posts Tagged ‘Diabetic foot ulcers’

Diabetic Footwear: If The Shoe Fits, Wear It

Friday, April 29th, 2016

When it comes to diabetic wound care, footwear matters – and proper diabetic patient shoe assessment is key.

Diabetic Footwear

 

Wound clinicians know how devastating foot amputations are for diabetic patients. But what you might not know is that a whopping 50% of diabetic foot amputations are a direct result of patients wearing improper footwear. Surprised? Unfortunately, this staggering statistic is accurate. But the good news is that there’s something we can do about it. If we get diabetic patients to wear the proper shoes, we can cut diabetic foot amputations in half.

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Urgent! Risks and Diagnosis of Diabetic Foot Infections

Friday, January 8th, 2016

For effective diabetic wound management, clinicians must know the risk factors for foot infections, and be able to diagnose them properly – and as soon as possible.

Diabetic Foot Infections

Wound care clinicians deal with foot infections all the time, but when the patient is also diabetic, an infection can progress rapidly to a critical state. In fact, it is estimated that around 56% of diabetic foot ulcers become infected, and an infected foot wound precedes about two-thirds of amputations.  Being able to treat diabetic foot infections promptly – before they progress too far – helps prevent amputations, which is why your role is so crucial to a patient’s well-being.

What are the risk factors?

If you are treating a diabetic patient with a foot infection, there are a number of risk factors to consider. These include:

  • 30-day-old wounds
  • Wounds that go down to the bone
  • Recurrent foot infections
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • An etiology from trauma

In particular, be on high alert with your diabetic patients for what they call an occult (hidden) infection. A diabetic foot ulcer could clearly have an infection, but fail to show any of the classic signs and symptoms that you traditionally look for, like erythema, heat, pain and purulence.

Because a diabetic patient’s immune system is compromised, you might be on the lookout for typical signs but not see any of them at all. This does not mean that an infection isn’t there; only half of diabetic foot ulcer patients will show classic signs, which means we also need to work our patients up for infection.

The best approach? Be persistent and keep looking for more signs, like:

Free Webinar - Diabetic Ulcers

  • Serous exudate (thin, clear, watery)
  • Delay in healing
  • Friable (fragile) granulation tissue
  • Discolored granulation
  • Odor
  • Pocketing in the wound bed

How do we diagnose infection?

Diagnosing infection in any wound, particularly with diabetic patients, is a clinical one (versus a lab diagnosis). So if you ever hear a colleague say, “We’re going to wait for the lab results to see if our patient has a wound infection,” it’s time to stand up and emphatically say, “No!” Why? Because lab results, specifically the swab cultures that are most commonly used, are often inconclusive in the presence of biofilm. Instead of waiting for the results, you need to act immediately.

That’s not to say that lab results aren’t useful. They can sometimes help us confirm infections and target which antibiotic we want to use. But again, most infections are polymicrobial (containing more than one kind of bacteria), and swab cultures don’t pick up everything. We need to use our clinical judgment and supplement with lab and cultures.

The Final Word

As wound care professionals, prevention is obviously our first line of defense against any wound complications from infections. But when caring for diabetic patients, clearly understanding the risk factors for foot infections, and then being able to diagnose conditions as soon as possible, are crucial for effective treatment.

What do you think?

Have you had experience in treating diabetic patients with foot infections? Have you been able to identify the infection in a timely manner? Is there a particular case that was exceptionally challenging or difficult? Please tell us about it, and leave your comments below.

REGISTER BY MAY 1ST – PAY BY JUNE 1ST

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

RegisterNowPay_LaterHeaderSave $100 when you register by May 1, 2015  
You’ll get first choice of conference sessions and…
You don’t pay until June 1st!

Industry and Clinical experts will provide training and product demonstrations and will help answer your “hard to heal” wound questions. Join us in Las Vegas, September 2 – 5, 2015 and network with hundreds of passionate wound care clinicians with the same goal in mind, to advance their wound care knowledge.

About WOW

Wild On Wounds is a national conference dedicated to clinicians who want to enhance their knowledge and learn current standards of care in skin and wound care. Attend lecture sessions, participate in hands-on workshops and learn all the new products and technologies from industry experts.

Full Conference Registration Includes:
  • Access to educational sessions over 3.5 days
  • Access to product experts during the exhibitor showcase
  • Lunch on each registered day
  • Poolside get-together with a robust buffet dinner
  • FREE cyber cafe to check emails, complete onsite evaluations, etc.
  • Complimentary collectible event T-shirt
  • And more!

register now    send a brochure

Wild On Wounds Conference Early Registration Savings

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Only_14_days

When you register early, you save $100 and you will have first choice in selecting all conference sessions. The early discount rate expires May 1, 2015.  Register today!

Industry and clinical experts will provide training, product demonstrations and will help answer your “hard to heal” wound questions.

Join us in Las Vegas, September 2-5, 2015 and network with hundreds of passionate wound care clinicians with the same goal in mind, to advance their wound care knowledge.

About WOW

Wild On Wounds is a national conference dedicated to clinicians who want to enhance their knowledge and learn current standards of care in skin and wound care. Attend lecture sessions, participate in hands-on workshops and learn all the new products and technologies from industry experts.

Full Conference Registration Includes:

  • Access to educational sessions over 3.5 days
  • Access to product experts during the exhibitor showcase
  • Lunch on each registered day
  • Poolside get-together with a robust buffet
  • FREE cyber cafe to check emails, complete onsite evaluations, etc
  • Complimentary collectible event T-shirt
  • And more!

course_header2WCEI2015_WCC_BUTTON_rev

WOUND CARE CERTIFICATION – This Wound Care Certified (WCC®) course offers an evidence-based approach to wound management and current standards of practice to keep clinicians legally defensible at bedside.

WCEI2015_DWC_BUTTON_rev

DIABETIC WOUND CERTIFICATION – This Diabetic Wound Certified (DWC®) course takes you through the science of the disease process, focuses on limb salvage and prevention, and covers the unique needs of a diabetic patient.

WCEI2015_OMS_BUTTON_revOSTOMY CERTIFICATION – This Ostomy Management Specialist (OMS) course will take you through the anatomy and physiology of the systems involved in fecal/urinary diversions. The course includes hands-on workshops and online pre-course modules.

 

CLICK HERE FOR COURSE DETAILS

 

Diabetic Patient Education

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Patient education plays a vital role in positive outcomes for our diabetic patient. Diabetic patients need to understand the importance of proper foot care and importance of good blood glucose control to maintain the integrity of their feet.

So what do our patients need to know? They need to work closely with their physician and the dietician to be sure their blood glucose levels are properly controlled. foot_mirror_between_toesThe ADA recommends an A1c below 7%.  They need to know how important it is to check their feet daily to catch any problems early. We as clinicians need to teach them how to do this and what to look for. Teach your diabetic patients to inspect their feet everyday. They can do this by having family members or caregivers check their feet, or they can use a mirror and do it themselves.

Explain to your patients what exactly they are looking for; cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, infected toenails, blisters, calluses, cracks, excessive dryness or any other abnormality. They should check all surfaces of the feet and toes carefully, at the same time each and every day. Explain to your patients to call their physician right away if they notice any abnormalities or any open areas. Other problems the diabetic patient should be aware of with their feet and report to their physician include tingling or burning sensation, pain in the feet, cracks in the skin, a change in the shape of their foot, or lack of sensation – they might not feel warm, cold, or touch. The patient should be aware that any of the above could potentially lead to diabetic foot ulcers.

Instruct your patients to wash their feet every day, but not soak their feet. Use warm, NOT hot water – be sure they check the water temperature with a thermometer or shoe_fittheir elbow. Dry feet well, especially between toes. Apply lotion on the tops and bottoms of their feet but not between toes. Trim toenails each week and as needed after bath / shower, trim nails straight across with clippers, smooth edges with emery board.

Wear socks and shoes at all times, the diabetic patient should never be barefoot, even indoors. Have them check their shoes prior to wearing, be sure there are no objects inside and the lining is smooth.  Instruct them to wear shoes that protect their feet; athletic shoes or walking shoes that are leather are best, be sure they fit their feet appropriately and accommodate the foot width and any foot deformities.

For our diabetic patients, glucose control is a key factor in keeping them healthy, but patient education and understanding of proper foot inspection and what findings to report to their physician are just as important for the well being of our diabetic patient.

Free Webinar “How-To: Diabetic Foot Exam Made Easy”. Use Promo Code: DFOOT  through 12/31/15.

Venous, Arterial or Mixed Ulcer…How Do I Know For Sure?

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Proper assessment is essential for differentiating between venous and arterial ulcers.

Venous, Arterial or Mixed Ulcer...How Do I Know For Sure?

 

Your patient has a lower extremity wound. You aren’t sure what exactly you are dealing with. You know you need to do that ABI to be certain, but while you are waiting to have that done some of your wound assessment findings will help clue you in as well.

Characteristics of Venous Ulcers

Let’s start with the venous ulcer, typically found on the medial lower leg, medial malleolus and superior to the medial malleolus. Seldom will you see them on the foot or above the knee. They tend to be irregular in shape, are superficial, have a red wound bed, have moderate to heavy amount of exudate and the patient may have no pain or a moderate level of pain. Surrounding skin can be warm to the touch, edematous, scaly, weepy and you may see hemosiderin staining present. Your ABI will be the definitive answer and will come back at 0.9.
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Tips for Trimming Those Diabetic Toenails

Monday, December 8th, 2014

Make sure you have the proper tools. A set of toenail nippers, nail file, and orange stick are typically used.  Always follow your facility or healthcare’s settings policy for nail clip blog imagesinfection control. Single use disposable equipment is favorable.
Nails are easiest to trim after they have soaked for 10 minutes in a footbath to soften them. It is important to remember and educate our patients that the soaking of a diabetic patients feet should only be done by a healthcare professional. You can save some time by cleaning under the patient’s toenails with an orange stick wiping on a clean washcloth in between each toe while the feet are soaking.
After soaking and washing of the feet are completed, dry the patient’s feet completely. Wash your hands and put on new gloves to trim the toenails. Use your dominant hand to hold the nipper. Start with the small toe and work your way medial toward the great toe. Squeeze the nipper to make small nips to cut along the curve of the toenail. Be careful not to cut the skin. Use your index finger to block any flying nail fragments. Nippers are used like a pair of scissors – make small cuts, never cut the nail in one clip all the way across the nail. Never use two hands on the nipper. The nail is trimmed in small clips in a systematic manner. The nail should be cut level with the tips of the toes, never cut so short or to break the seal between the nail and the nail bed. The shape of the nail should be cut straight across and an emery board should be used to slightly round the edges. When filing nails always use long strokes in one direction, avoid using a back and forth sawing motion.
When all toes have been trimmed and filed, remove gloves and wash hands. Apply clean gloves and apply lotion to the top of the foot and to the bottom of the feet, rubbing lotion in well, wipe excess lotion off with a towel. Put patients socks and shoes back on as needed. Wash your hands again and smile, you are done!

FREE WEBINAR:  Skin and Nail Changes in the Diabetic Foot.  Click Here and use coupon code: NAILS through 12/31/15.

 

 

A Stinky Situation: When Wound Odor is a Problem

Monday, November 10th, 2014

You may have become desensitized to it, but If your patient has odor in the wound bed, consider it a problem that you need to fix.

A Stinky Situation: When Wound Odor is a Problem

 

As healthcare clinicians, in a way, we are lucky.  We become desensitized to things we encounter over and over again, they just don’t bother us like the first time we were exposed. This stands true for those wounds with odor. We almost become immune, yes we are aware the odor is there; but to our noses it is not an issue. The real issue is for our patients and their friends and family. Odor is subjective. Depending on the patient and family members ability, they may be very much aware of the odor. It can be very bothersome to the patient and their loved ones. The patient maybe embarrassed by it, and may try to self-isolate. They may not want to have people around them because of the way their wound smells. This is something as wound care clinicians we need to fix.

The first thing we need to look at is, what is causing the odor? Is it from necrotic tissue that supports the growth of anaerobic bacteria? Is it from a high level of wound exudate? Is there an actual wound infection? Do we have the wrong wound dressing on the patient?

Once we figure out the cause then we need to remove it, whether its debridement of necrotic tissue, managing the high level of exudate with dressings or using Negative Pressure Wound Therapy; we need to find what works.  With an actual wound infection, treating with antimicrobial dressings or antiseptic’s/antibiotic’s are a must to remove the organism causing the infection and the odor. Sometimes just changing the dressing more frequently will help.  Using dressings like those with activated charcoal, or those dressings with medical grade honey in them may help the wound odor. Another option is topical Metronidazole Gel to the wound bed, this may help eliminate wound odor as well.

Just because the odor in the wound bed isn’t offensive to us as wound care clinicians, doesn’t mean it isn’t offensive to others. As a rule, if your patient has odor in the wound bed, consider it a problem that you need to fix.

 

Wound Care Education Institute® provides online and onsite courses in the fields of Skin, Wound, Diabetic and OstomyManagement. Health care professionals who meet the eligibility requirements may sit for the prestigious WCC®, DWC® and OMS national board certification examinations through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®). For more information see wcei.net.

 

Diabetic Ulcers – Identification and Treatment

Monday, October 27th, 2014
Gail Hebert RN, BS, MS, CWCN, WCC, DWC, OMS, LNHA, Clinical Instructor

Gail Hebert RN, BS, MS, CWCN, WCC, DWC, OMS, LNHA, Clinical Instructor

Don’t miss this energetic webinar brought to you by Wound Care Education Institute®:  Another popular session recorded from the Wild On Wounds National Conference and providing continuing education credit.

Chronic foot ulcers in patients with diabetes cause substantial morbidity and may lead to amputation of a lower extremity and mortality. Accurate identification of underlying causes and co-morbidities are essential for planning treatment and approaches for optimal healing. In this one-hour recorded session, Gail Hebert will review evidence-based approaches for identification and treatment of chronic neuropathic, neuro-ischemic and ischemic diabetic foot ulcerations.

Wound Care Education Institute is featuring various webinars on topics from this years’ conference.  TO REGISTER CLICK HERE or visit www.wcei.net/webinars.

 

Trimming Those Tricky Diabetic Toenails

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

diabetic blog pic

You are getting ready to trim your diabetic patients toenails.  What exactly does that all involve?  Well, first you need the proper tools.  A set of toenail nippers, nail file, and orange stick are typically used.   Always follow your facility or healthcare’s settings policy for infection control.  Single use disposable equipment is favorable.

You have gathered your equipment to trim the patients toenails, now what?  Nails are easiest to trim after a bath or soak for 10min to soften nails.  The soaking of diabetics feet should only be done by a healthcare professional. You can clean under the patients toenail with an orange stick (wearing gloves), wiping on a clean washcloth in between each toe during soaking. .

After soaking and washing of the feet are completed, dry the patients feet completely.  Wash your hands and put on gloves to trim the toenails.  Use your dominant hand to hold the nipper.  Start with the small toe and work your way medial toward the great toe.  Squeeze the nipper to make small nips to cut along the curve of the toenail.  Be careful not to cut the skin.  Use your index finger to block any flying nail fragments.  Nippers are used like a pair of scissors – make small cuts, never cut the nail in one clip all the way across the nail.  Never use two hands on the nipper.  The nail is trimmed in small clips in a systematic manner.  The nail should be cut level with the tips of the toes, never cut so short or to break the seal between the nail and the nail bed.  The shape of the nail should be cut straight across and an emery board should be used to slightly round the edges.  When filing nails always use long strokes in one direction, avoid using a back and forth sawing motion.

When all toes have been trimmed and filed, remove gloves and wash hands.  Apply clean gloves and apply lotion to the top of the foot and to the soles of the feet, rubbing lotion in well, wipe excess lotion off with a towel.  Put patients socks and shoes back on as needed.  Wash hands and smile, you are done!

For your patients who are trimming their own toenails at home teach them the following simple instructions:  Be sure you have good lighting. Trim toenails after bathing, dry feet well, especially in between the toes.  Start with the little toe and work your way into the great toe.  Use small cuts, never cut the toenail across all at once.   Cut straight across and use a nail file to smooth edges.  Apply lotion to the bottom and tops of the feet, never in between the toes.  For patients with thickened toenails or yellowed toenails, recommend a foot care specialist like a podiatrist cut their toenails.

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