What is Wound Awareness Week all about?
Wound Awareness Week is raising awareness of chronic wounds across Australia. This year’s theme “Let’s Talk About Wounds” encourages people to start a conversation with their health professionals about hard to heal wounds. It is important that the community at large can identify the wound warning signs (pain, fluid, smell, over 30 days to heal), know who is most at risk from chronic wounds, and what action to take if they have a wound that won’t heal.
Why is it important to have awareness around this issue?
Chronic wounds are a ‘hidden affliction’ that are alarmingly common. With around half a million people suffering with a chronic wound, treating chronic wounds costs the health system $3billion annually. People over 65 years are more at risk of having a chronic wound, and with our population getting older, chronic wounds are a growing problem. However, with the current lack of awareness, many people don’t access the treatment they need, and they suffer from their wound for much longer than they have to.
What is happening as part of Wound Awareness Week?
We have a number of activities taking place across Wound Awareness Week:
- We have sent out over 2500 promotional kits that will be put up in hospitals, pharmacies, aged care facilities, GP surgeries all over Australia during the week to raise awareness. These kits are also downloadable online at http://www.woundaware.com.au/resources/.
- We are releasing a series of videos to help raise awareness of Venous Leg Ulcers, Diabetic Wounds, and Pressure Injuries – these will be released on the Wounds Australia social media feeds.
- We are adding information on chronic wounds to the Wound Aware website so that the general public have access to the relevant information they need on chronic wounds.
- We are running an exclusive event in QLD on the 18th July on “The complexity of wound management” for health care professionals to develop their knowledge of wound care.
- There will be local events organised by Wounds Australia members to spread awareness about wounds in local communities across Australia.
- We are running a competition to win a $150 Amazon Voucher. This involves taking a photo of yourself holding our competition sign (http://www.woundaware.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Competition-Sign-A4-Landscape.pdf), uploading it to social media, and tagging Wounds Australia in it as well as using the hashtag “LetsTalkAboutWounds”
What are the issues associated with poor wound management and wound awareness?
Chronic wounds impact people’s lives in many ways:
- Physical and health complications. Sufferers are often in constant pain, have their mobility reduced and are predisposed to a number of potential complications. These may include wound infection, both at the site and throughout the whole body, which can result in cellulitis, constant pain, amputation or even death.
- Social and emotional issues. People with a chronic wound are predisposed to mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety that has resulted from social isolation, changes to body image, and decreased quality of life.
- Financial costs of chronic wounds. Chronic wounds cost Australia almost $3 billion a year in hospital and residential care alone. People with a chronic wound also face considerable out of pocket costs for treatment, wound dressing products and medications. For the individual, research has shown that the cost of wound products can be between $86 and $340 per month, with some chronic wounds taking months to heal. Unfortunately these costs are often borne by people receiving the aged or disability pension, or those with a reduced income due to an inability to return to work.
However with the right treatment, a chronic wound can be healed. This is why it is important to increase awareness about chronic wounds and encourage people to seek help for a chronic wound.
Who are we encouraging to participate in/find out more during Wound Awareness Week? Why?
We are encouraging health care professionals to get involved as they are in an ideal position to share their knowledge of chronic wounds with the general public.
We also are encouraging the general public to get involved, particularly if they have experienced a chronic wound or are at-risk from a chronic wound. They can share the message through social media, explore the information available on our website and join the conversation about chronic wounds.
A final note from us
Chronic wounds can be healed. Know the wound warning signs and if you have a wound that isn’t healing, talk to your health care professional.