Diabetic foot ulcers can come in many varieties of sizes.

Proactive wound care has become increasingly the norm in the last decade, with clinicians from all walks of healthcare using certain standards to determine how to approach a patient’s wellness. Here are a few that you may already use, as well as some you may want to add to your practice.

4-Week Benchmark

Since the 2003 publication of Dr. P. Sheehan and associate’s study on healing rates for diabetic ulcers, which appeared in the June issue of Diabetes Care, healing bench marks have been widely used. According to their research, a foot ulcer that does not show a significant improvement in healing by week 4 will have less than 10 percent chance of being healed by week 12. Since this study, many clinicians have used this 4-week mark as a standard for when to re-assess the wound and its treatment options.

Take Detailed Notes

Documenting the size, shape, color, feel and severity of a foot ulcer can provide great information on how the wound heals over time. While some clinicians may be embarrassed that a certain wound treatment didn’t work and may not want to disclose all of the details of the wound in a follow-up appointment, providing the same level of detail each time an ulcer is examined is critical. Not only will it give other clinicians information for future studies or research, it will also provide other caregivers for the same patient a base circumstance to go off of for their inspection. For example, if a wound has been infected for a week, care will be very different than if it were infected for only one day. Better care more quickly will also cut down on costs for the care of the wound.

Develop Flexible protocols

Every wound is different, and there are many varieties of foot ulcers as well. A patient’s history can define how successful one treatment option will be over another, and even a treatment that worked previously may not work for the same patient in the future. According to Healthy Debate, Japan has developed policies that will reimburse hospitals 50 yen per patient for the costs it takes to establish pressure ulcer teams, and diabetic ulcers should follow a similar route. Providing possible guidelines or “recipes” for care will help eliminate the room for error.

No matter what protocol(s) you use, it is key to identify one that is actually assisting the healing process.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.