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Brushing up on aseptic technique in wound care

Health professionals hoping to learn more about aseptic technique in wound care now have access to a new consensus document by Wounds Australia.

Chief executive Anne Buck said the publication will help clinicians provide evidence-based wound care and meet infection standards, whether they are working in a hospital or someone’s home.

The publication, Application of aseptic technique in wound dressing procedure: a consensus document, is based on Standard 3 of the National Safety & Quality Health Service Standards.

It covers wound cleansing, storage of wound products, the use and management of open-but-unused dressing products, and cleaning and environmental aspects.

Wounds Australia spokesperson Kerry May said the recommendations were developed as consensus statements by a diverse group of experts in wound care, and infection prevention and control across many healthcare settings.

“Healthcare-associated infections are a significant issue and all health professionals must take responsibility for preventing infection,” May said. “The Consensus Document is a resource for clinicians and service providers to guide wound dressing practice, policy and procedure.”

The document was released to coincide with Wound Awareness Week, which runs from 16 to 20 October. Throughout the week, Australians are being asked to ‘Be Wound Aware’, know the ‘Warning Signs of Wounds’, and get treatment from healthcare professionals.

This year, Wounds Australia is placing attention on chronic wounds as a serious health issue.

Chronic wounds affect nearly half a million Australians a day and cost the health system $3 billion annually.

Buck said: “Chronic wounds are a hidden affliction in Australia and must be recognised as a serious health issue to safeguard our ageing population.

“The current lack of awareness means many people suffer in silence – they may not get the right treatment, or even realise that they need specialist care.”

Wounds Australia is also calling on the Australian Government to reduce the out of pocket costs of wound care.

The peak body said the cost to Australians with a chronic wound can be as much as $340 a month, and some wounds take years to heal, leading to people spending thousands of dollars on wound treatment.

Often the people facing these costs are on the aged pension or fixed incomes, Buck said. “The result is that they can’t afford to get the right treatment.

“Without access to treatment and wound care products, the length of time a wound takes to heal and the risk of complications increases. Wounds Australia believes strategies such as a subsidy program for venous leg ulcer compression therapy are needed.

“This will save money and lives in the long run.”

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