Data gathered from 94 Australian primary healthcare professionals has led scientists to conclude that preventative footcare for people living with diabetes is currently a low priority for many GPs and Credentialled Diabetes Educators.
Despite global evidence showing that comprehensive preventative footcare in primary care settings can reduce serious foot complications of arising from diabetes, foot assessments and podiatry only became a priority for most primary healthcare professionals when a ‘foot concern” was specifically raised by the patient.
Reviewing and monitoring haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels remained the main focus for diabetes management among primary healthcare professionals, along with lifestyle interventions, and self-management assessments at early diagnosis and 20 years post-diagnosis. This exclusive emphasis on blood glucose management could lead to failures to identify early signs of diabetes related foot disease, thereby increasing risk of significant complications and potential amputations down the track.
The research emphasises the need for increased awareness of, and focus on the need for early, proactive and preventative footcare throughout diabetes care programs, not just in response to foot-related events and concerns. It is also important to support people living with diabetes to understand the risks and how to look after their feet. A collaborative approach among primary healthcare professionals, policy decision makers, funders, and practice managers should be adopted to promote improvements in preventative diabetic foot care.
Diabetes WA runs regular FootSMART workshops for people living with diabetes. The FootSMART program was developed to increase patient understanding of how blood glucose levels can impact foot health and the importance of having a foot care routine (including self-management and attending regular checks) that will reduce the risk of diabetes-related foot complications. If you have patients that would benefit from attending a FootSMART workshop, please ask them to book into an upcoming session via our website.