Ulcers and Community Nurses

Ok, so I’m not really impressed with community nurses, sure there are some fantastic ones out there, but my experiences with them is not very positive.  My advice to anyone that has a loved one that needs visits from a community nurse for a dressing is to find out all you can about the requirements of the wound and make sure the wound is being cared for properly.

My mother has had a chronic leg ulcer for three years.  It has been close to being healed on a couple of occasions but unfortunately due to the ‘care’ of the nurses the wound has gone ‘pear shaped’ and here we are still having dressings done three times a week… oh, except if it falls on a public holiday or they are too busy, then I get to do it!  So, with no training in wound care or how to apply the dressing of the moment, I’m qualified to take the place of a nurse!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful of the opportunity of dressing Ma’s ulcer as I get to see how it’s healing.. or not healing.  I put my cranky pants on this afternoon when I found that the nurse of the day had taped the ‘tubigrip’ over Ma’s toes so her toes, which are already bent over with arthritis, were pinned down.  After I had freed them, I noticed one of her toes had a small sore and was very swollen.  (She has had ulcers on her toes before and because she has little blood flow, healing them is a real challenge.)  How the nurse had missed this… I do not know.  The toe is now dressed and my fingers are now crossed.  This is only one example of the problems I have had with them.

Ma now goes to an ulcer clinic which has made more progress in 12 months than she has had in two years.  They are expert AND the sad thing is that they can access the wound dressings that community nurses can’t.  So, the ‘magic’ wound dressings that are top of the tree are only accessible through the clinic or if you buy them privately.

Tips: 

  • Make sure you keep yourself informed about your loved ones wound and what to look for.  Things like reddening around the wound area and up the appendage (cellulitis) or whether the area around the wound feels warmer than the rest of appendage.
  • If your loved one has an unhealing ulcer, see if you can get a referral to an ulcer clinic.
  • Keep yourself informed about wound care and what the nurses are using.  If you feel the wound has been making no progress, ask questions as to why.
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