AUT and Waitematā DHB have teamed-up to provide trainee podiatrists with experience in the diagnosis of foot-related complications from diabetes.
Diabetes affects 6 per cent of the population and is the leading cause of lower limb amputation due to complications from nerve and blood vessel damage, according to the Ministry of Health.
Preventative treatment by podiatrists can significantly reduce the likelihood of serious complications and it is a key area of focus for Waitematā DHB’s High-Risk Foot Clinic, which is currently treating more than 500 patients in North and West Auckland.
To help undergraduate students gain skills and experience in caring for people with high-risk feet, Waitematā DHB’s Diabetes Podiatry Service and AUT’s Department of Podiatry have launched a combined clinic within AUT Integrated Health (AIH) on Akoranga Drive – a five-minute drive from North Shore Hospital.
AIH is a state-of-the-art interprofessional learning environment for Bachelor of Health students, which gives patients access to a wide range of related services, including occupational therapy, oral health, physiotherapy, counselling-psychology, psychotherapy and nursing.
“Our podiatrists aggressively treat active foot wounds or infections and work closely with patients and whānau to educate them about early warning signs and how to protect their feet from deterioration. It is important for patients to identify nerve damage and structural changes to their feet that would result in a loss of sensation and put them at risk of further damage or wounds,” says Director of Allied Health, Scientific and Technical Professions Tamzin Brott.
“The more proactive we are in this area, the better the outcomes are for our patients, which is why we see huge potential in developing a future workforce in this specialist area.”
AIH Clinical Manager, Dr Brenda Flood, says: “We are very much looking forward to working with Waitematā DHB in the provision of high-quality healthcare. This collaboration opens up opportunities for clients to receive wraparound, interprofessional care from a range of health students here at AIH”.
Waitematā DHB podiatry staff will attend the weekly clinics and oversee the clinical management of patients.
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