Save a Leg

Every 30 seconds, a lower limb is lost to diabetes somewhere in the world! Diabetes is responsible for 60% of all amputations in Australia, and it has one of the worst diabetes-related lower limb amputation rates in the developed world, with nearly 20 per 100,000 people with diabetes losing a limb compared to an average of 12 per 100,000 elsewhere. More recent data suggests that diabetes-related amputations have also increased in Australia by over 30% for the period between 1998 and 2011.

Diabetes-related foot complication results in a longer average length of hospital stay when compared to all other diabetes – related complications.

Amputations and foot ulcers are consistently the second and third most expensive acute diabetes complications respectively to treat in terms of both hospital and out-of-hospital costs.

Furthermore, mortality data associated with diabetes complications suggests foot complications are the second leading cause of diabetes- related death, second only to cardiovascular disease.

WSLHD has fragmented diabetes foot services and inconsistent foot screening and risk stratification.

Western Sydney Diabetes Initiative, through this redesign project, is aiming to:

  • Increase screening rates of patients with diabetes and reduce the variation of screening practices in Western Sydney
  • Increase patient awareness of diabetic foot complications and to empower the patient to seek active treatment in a timely manner
  • Increase timeliness and appropriateness of complexity of referral of patients into Hospital Podiatry Services in accordance with foot screening (risk stratification)

A 60-second diabetic foot screening tool was developed and educated patients, nurses and clinicians on the importance of using the tool and conducting regular foot checks at least annually. Electronic referral templates and clinical pathways were also developed, to facilitate the improvement of timely access to hospital foot services.