PodCast: A rural and regional service model for podiatrist-led total contact casting
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Authors: McLean A, Gardner M, Perrin B
Publication: The Australian journal of rural health
Diabetes-related foot disease causes significant health system costs and is a leading cause of morbidity and disproportionately affects rural populations. Total contact casts or instant total contact casts are gold standard for management of foot ulcerations resulting from diabetes-related foot disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a podiatrist-led casting service model within a rural and regional setting.
The implementation of the service model was evaluated over a 12-month period using a quality improvement approach, informed by multiple methods. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used.
An outpatient high-risk foot clinic and community-based podiatry services within a large regional health service. The location was central Victoria, servicing rural communities within the Loddon Mallee region.
KEY MEASURES FOR IMPROVEMENT:
Patient-related data included information relating to demographics, diabetes and foot pathologies. Service-related data included occasions of service, locations and the number and type of casts applied.
STRATEGIES FOR CHANGE:
Upskilling podiatrists to provide the service in a safe, supportive and sustainable manner and ensuring the podiatrist-led casting service model was sufficiently adaptable for patients to access at the rural sites.
EFFECTS OF CHANGE:
Increased access to total contact casts and instant total contact casts, comparable wound healing times to other studies and the model was able to be sustained.
Podiatrist-led casting resulted in increased utilisation of total contact casts and instant total contact casts. The increased use of instant total contact casts in particular may help address the lack of uptake of this treatment for people with diabetes-related foot disease, thereby improving rural health outcomes.