What is Wound Awareness Week 2020 all about?

The objective of the 2020 campaign is to spread awareness of what wounds are, who is at risk, and what someone should do if they have a wound that won’t heal. The campaign will highlight the issues and treatments for wounds caused by using PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) in response to COVID-19 Pandemic, Chronic Wounds, pressure Injuries, and Venous Leg Ulcers. The week will:

  • Encourage professionals to start a conversation about hard to heal wounds and the hidden costs associated with it.
  • Increase awareness of chronic wounds including identifying wound warning signs (pain, fluid, smell, over 30 days to heal), know who is most at risk from chronic wounds, and what actions to take if they have a wound that won’t heal.
  • Increase awareness of wounds caused by PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) in response to COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Increase awareness of Pressure Injuries and Venous Leg Ulcers.

Why is Wound Awareness important?

Nearly half-a-million Australians suffer from chronic wounds each year, with most of those caused by pressure injuries. Minor wounds, such as cuts and scrapes, will usually heal on their own with good wound hygiene and attention. It is the chronic wounds that resist treatment and are slow to heal that pose the greatest risk.

Anyone working in health care will come access wounds. Whether you are a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, allied health professional, or a personal care attendant, in hospitals, community settings, or residential care. They may be surgical incisions, wounds that occur as the result of accidents through to the wounds that are complications of diseases and conditions, and result in chronic wounds. These include diabetic wounds and venous ulcers or wounds of frailty and decreased mobility: pressure injuries.

As the population ages, there will be more people at most risk of chronic wounds if they have one or more chronic diseases. Health care practitioners will see more and more wounds in the patients they care for regardless of the setting. While not all HCPs will pursue specialist knowledge and skills in wound management, it is important that you can assist your patients with slow healing or chronic wounds to get the best treatment for their wounds.

What is different about Wound Awareness Week 2020?

Wounds Awareness Week (WAW) 2020 focuses on the way the COVID-19 pandemic affects healthcare workers who are involved with wound care. The increased use of PPE such as face masks means workers are experiencing pressure injuries themselves.

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.