The podiatry team at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board have recently been shortlisted for the national Advancing Healthcare Awards for their revolutionary STANCE project.
On Friday the 12th April will see Angela Jones and Helen White, two of the project’s leaders travel to London to represent our health board on the national stage. STANCE is an innovative and ground-breaking project designed to empower patients at risk of diabetic foot disease to take ownership of their foot care and, by doing so, reduce their risk.
Having high blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and cause the blood flow to the feet to be restricted. This can lead to nerve damage, wounds take longer to heal and in the most severe cases, Infection, hospitalisation and amputation can occur.
In order to raise awareness of the need to treat not only this condition’s symptoms but also reducing its prevalence and risk in people with diabetes by addressing its causes, the podiatry team at Cardiff and Vale UHB collaborated with the Bevan Commission to develop a new way to work with diabetes patients.
Previously, patients with a moderate-to-high risk of diabetic foot disease were referred into the podiatry service by their GP for their assessment and foot care needs to be met.
With the rising prevalence in type 2 diabetes, it was clear to the team that this model of care, simply treating a patient’s symptoms, would soon become unsustainable as current interventions fail to adequately address the root cause of, and failing to prevent the progression of, diabetic foot disease.
In response to this, they developed STANCE with the support of the Bevan Commission and in collaboration with patient and other stakeholder awareness groups.
Now, as part of the STANCE programme, patients are invited to attend an hour-long interactive group education session where they’re given the tools, knowledge and skills to take control of their own care. They also discuss lifestyle factors that they could change to reduce their risk of foot disease, such as stopping smoking with free, NHS services like Help Me Quit and eating a healthy, balanced diet.
This is followed-up by a one-to-one consultation appointment wherein the podiatrist will reinforce their knowledge and assess their individual needs.
Through the patient empowerment that STANCE has allowed, the podiatry team has saved nearly £100,000 of clinical time in just six months. With this extra resource, they’ve been able to open walk-in clinics so, if patients with diabetic foot disease, need urgent care in times of crisis, they know that they’ll be seen in the most timely and efficient way.
It has also contributed to a reduction in average waiting times from 14 to just 3 weeks and average appointment time has increased by 50% from 20 to 30 minutes so each patient seen has a more in-depth consultation with their podiatrist.
The project has been so successful that the team are hoping to scale it up and spread best practice across all Welsh Health Boards.
Angela Jones, Specialist Podiatrist at Cardiff and Vale UHB, said, “We are thrilled to be a finalist in the Advancing Health Care Awards for the STANCE diabetes foot education programme. It has allowed us to showcase the collaborative work we are doing in podiatry to improve foot health outcomes for our patients.
“The awards process is recognition of hard work of the STANCE team delivering high-quality education and
consultation, along with the administration staff who support us, the PARIS programme team who have helped us record our data along the way and the management who gave us the freedom to develop and implement change in our service. I would personally like to thank them all.”
Fiona Jenkins, Executive Director of Therapies and Health Science at Cardiff and Vale UHB, said, “I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to our amazing podiatry team for developing the STANCE programme and for their recent recognition as part of the Advancing Healthcare Awards.
“Empowering patients to take ownership of their care and providing person-centred services that address both the cause and the symptoms of medical conditions is at the heart of sustainable healthcare and is something that the Health Board would be keen to replicate in as many services and areas of care as possible.
“Finally, I’d like to wish the team all the very best of luck for the awards ceremony next week. Good luck!”