TORONTO, Nov. 22, 2017 /CNW/ - Relief is on the way for thousands of people with diabetic foot ulcers and limb amputations after Ontario announced it will provide funding for devices designed to ease their suffering.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced Wednesday that his ministry will provide $8 million over three years to fund three different types of pressure relieving foot casts, also known as offloading devices.
People with diabetes are at a greater risk of developing foot ulcers because many of them develop nerve damage, which limits the sensation in their limbs. Without that feeling, bruises, bumps and cuts can go unnoticed and untreated, which can lead to amputation.
News of the funding was welcomed by groups representing nurses, physicians, other health professionals and members of the public who have been calling for these devices to be provided as part of the province's universal health coverage. They say providing pressure-relieving devices will allow people's wounds to heal faster and prevent unnecessary complications.
"We're thrilled with this announcement," says Doris Grinspun, Chief Executive Officer of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO). "Diabetes-related foot complications have devastating effects on a person's quality of life and on their families. Today's announcement will result in decreased human suffering and will also save millions of dollars spent each year in preventable amputations."
According to figures from Diabetes Canada, up to 27,600 people were diagnosed with a diabetic foot ulcer in Ontario in 2015. And each year, 2,000 people undergo amputations. The fact that more than 85 per cent of the amputations are preventable only underscores the need for action, the health groups say.
"Amputations are one of the most feared consequences of diabetes. Diabetes Canada recognizes the government of Ontario's leadership in providing public funding for offloading devices. We encourage the government to continue working on this issue by ensuring timely access to medical devices, interprofessional health care and education," says Amanda Thambirajah, Director of Government Relations for Ontario, Diabetes Canada.
"Wounds Canada commends the health ministry's new policy. This allocation of funds is encouraging and we look forward to further policy changes that ensure timely access to interprofessional care for urgent diabetic foot complications. We know it will make a difference in the lives of persons living with diabetes in Ontario. We encourage other provinces to take similar actions to reduce both the risk of diabetic foot complications and amputations," says Mariam Botros, Chief Executive Officer of Wounds Canada.
"It is evident that the ministry of health has the best interests of Ontarians at heart. Better access to diabetic foot offloading devices will add up to big results for Ontario health care. In addition to the funding, there needs to be attention to policy development that will ensure accessibility to health-care professionals specialized in wound care. This will reduce the risk of secondary complications, including loss of limbs," says Catherine Harley, Executive Director of the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET).
The government of Ontario is the first to deliver on a pledge made in 2012 by the Council of the Federation, which is made up of premiers and territorial leaders, when they indentified RNAO's evidenced-based guideline Assessment and Management of Foot Ulcers for People with Diabetes as a necessary clinical tool to address what they called a priority health area. Given the significant number of people diagnosed each year in Canada with diabetic foot complications, the groups urge all jurisdictional governments to follow Ontario's lead so that all Canadians struggling with this condition can one day have similar access to treatment.
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. For more information about RNAO, visit our website at RNAO.ca or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Wounds Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Association of Wound Care, is Canada's leading organization for wound-related knowledge mobilization. Established in 1995, the non-profit association is dedicated to the advancement of wound prevention and care to improve the health of Canadians. The association focuses efforts in four key areas: 1) professional education, 2) public advocacy, awareness and education, 3) research and 4) partnerships to support WC's goals of improving patient outcomes. For more information, please visit our website at www.cawc.net and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Diabetes Canada is the registered national charitable organization that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Diabetes Canada partners with Canadians to End Diabetes through educational programs and support services; resources for health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes; advocacy to governments, schools and workplaces; and funding world-leading Canadian research to improve treatments and find a cure. For more information, diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464)
The Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy (CAET) is a not-for-profit association and registered charity for over 350 nurses specializing in the nursing care of patients with challenges in wound, ostomy and continence. The CAET acts in the public interest for Canadian Enterostomal Therapy Nurses to provide national leadership in promoting high standards for ET nursing practice, education, research and administration to achieve quality specialized nursing care.
SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
For further information: For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Marion Zych, Director of Communications, RNAO, Cell: 647-406-5605 / Office: 416-408-5605, Toll free: 1-800-268-7199 ext. 209, [email protected], www.RNAO.ca