Wounds place a significant burden on the Australian healthcare system and affect the patient’s quality of life.
- $3 billion burden on the Australian health system
- Impact on lifespan – disproportionately affect Indigenous Australians
- Misdiagnosis and inappropriate management results in costly evacuation flights, extended hospital stays and dislocation from family and community
- Indigenous children over-represented in burn injuries
- Dog bites 1,000 times more frequent in remote communities
- Hand and facial injuries common
- Accessibility of wound management services is an issue, with many Australians finding it difficult to access expert wound care
- There is much evidence of poor patient outcomes. Most chronic wounds are not properly treated or managed.
Managing Wounds in Remote Communities
Responding to this community health problem, an initial grant from the Australian Government, Department of Health, has enabled us to deliver training workshops in remote areas of the Top End in the period, FY 2018-FY 2022.
- Our program harnesses the philanthropic spirit of Volunteer Specialist Plastic Surgeons.
- Our innovation is to deliver a program whereby volunteer Specialist Plastic Surgeons for the first time, travel to remote settings to provide hands-on practical training on wound care in remote settings to Remote Medical Practitioners, Remote Area Nurses and Aboriginal Health Practitioners.
- This is an Australia-first and at its heart is the opportunity for knowledge exchange between Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and remote health workers.
Progress FY 2018-FY 2022:
- 38 workshops in remote clinics, at Darwin N5 conferences and at Batchelor Institute
- Presented to over 830 remote health worker participants
- Visited over 14 different remote communities
- 80% of staﬀ at each clinic participate
- Participants are Remote Medical Practitioners, Remote Nursing Practitioners and Aboriginal Health Practitioners
- Developed a purpose built, online, interactive eLearning Platform to house our various wound management and assessment modules and resources
- Advocated for the development of a wound database in remote communities to better track the impact wounds have on the health system
The program provides learning modules on wound closure and suturing techniques, face-to-face clinical assessments and train the trainer workshops. As well as providing new skills to local people, it gives surgeons new knowledge about traditional and local approaches to wound care.
Our Remote Wound Program is planned and delivered in collaboration with remote health authorities, government organisations and peak bodies to maximise our impact and minimise duplication.
People living in remote communities are the beneficiaries of our training for Aboriginal Health Practitioners, Remote Medical Practitioners and Nurses.
Our intention is to follow need and demand, and expand the training across the Northern Territory as well as the Kimberley and Far North Queensland.
Remote Wound Program Partners
- Australian Government Department of Health
- Top End Population and Primary Health Care (PPHC) NT Department of Health
- Central Australia Health Service (CAHS)
Indigenous Health Organisations
- National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO)
- Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs)
- Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS)
- Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education
- Flinders University
- Queensland University of Technology (QUT)
- Royal Flying Doctors Service Qld (RFDS)
- Bauhinia Health, Katherine NT