Because many chronic wounds are a result of underlying chronic disease these wounds are complex and often need care from a multidisciplinary team. For example if you have a diabetic foot ulcer it may be treated by your GP, a podiatrist and a wound care nurse.
General Practitioner or Family doctor
The General Practitioner or Family Doctor is the doctor who is primarily responsible for providing comprehensive care to each person seeking medical care and arranging referral to other health professionals as required. They have a role in coordinating care especially when the person may be seeing one or more specialist doctors (eg heart specialist). General Practitioners generally see their patients more frequently than specialist doctors so are able to provide a more regular monitoring and treatment of chronic wounds.
Pharmacists are professionally qualified to prepare and dispense medical drugs according to a prescription from a medical doctor or other suitably qualified health professional. Community pharmacists also provide primary healthcare advice and support including on wounds and wound care products. Pharmacists also educate customers on health promotion, disease prevention and the proper use of medicines.
They are also able to provide or reinforce advice around disease and wound care to their patients, for example, ensuring your patients with diabetes check their feet for injury every day, and are linked into a Podiatrist for at least an annual check-up.
General Practice nurses
General practice nurses are qualified registered or enrolled nurses who deliver primary health care in a general practice setting. The general practice nurse plays a pivotal role in health promotion, health maintenance and prevention of illness
Specialist nurses are registered nurses who have undertaken additional education and qualifications in wound management. Specialist wound nurses may work in wound clinics at major hospitals, in community nursing services and in private practice.
Diabetes Educators are specialists in diabetes. They are health professionals who have completed further study to focus their efforts on helping people with diabetes self-manage their diabetes effectively and prevent complications.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers provide primary health care that is culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients in a range of settings. They play a vital role in the primary health care workforce, providing clinical and primary care for individuals, families and community groups. Some have education and experience in diabetes.
Podiatry deals with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of medical and surgical conditions of the feet and lower limbs. The conditions podiatrists treat include those resulting from bone and joint disorders such as arthritis and soft-tissue and muscular problems, as well as neurological and circulatory disease such as diabetic and venous ulcers.
Other health professionals who may be part of the wound care team are:
Physiotherapists are qualified health professionals who use advanced techniques and evidence-based care, to assess, diagnose, treat and prevent a wide range of health conditions and movement disorders. Physiotherapy helps repair damage, reduce stiffness and pain, increase mobility and improve quality of life.
Occupational therapy is a client-centred health profession concerned with enabling people to participate in the activities of their everyday life. Occupational therapists achieve this outcome by working with people and communities to enhance their ability to engage in the activities they want to, need to, or are expected to do, or by modifying the activity or the environment to better support their ability to participate. For example they may help a person who has had an amputation to adapt to manage routine tasks in their home.
A dietitian is a qualified nutrition professional who has the expertise to provide a range of evidence based services related to nutrition, public health nutrition, policy and research, and community health. They also have the expertise to provide individual dietary counselling, medical nutrition therapy, group dietary therapy and food service management. They may be able to provide advice and support on eating a diet which supports wound healing.