Stepping out to better health for leg ulcer patients

Simon Swindells from Wyre Borough Council, Suzanne Parker and Jo Braithwaite from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and Andrew Sheward attending one of the sessions

A programme has been set up to provide leg ulcer patients with knowledge on how to manage their condition.

The programme, in partnership with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Wyre Borough Council and local GP Practices was introduced last summer to improve leg ulcer care provided to patients living in Thornton and Poulton-le-Fylde.

Jo Braithwaite, Deputy Head of Locality for Wyre, said: “As part of the New Models of Care, GPs, practice nurses and district nurses have worked together and redesigned the clinical pathway of care for patients with venous leg ulcers in this area of Wyre.

“We want to empower patients to be more active in improving their own health and wellbeing so we set this group up, running alongside the clinical pathway, to give patients more information and support.

“The group, known as the Stepping Out Group, is a nine week programme covering a wide range of topics relevant to improving people’s knowledge of their condition.

“Venous ulcers can happen at any age and are a very common condition.

“They can be a very painful condition and can affect patients’ general health, wellbeing and mental health too.

“The patients who attended the group regularly have been positive about the support provided and all of their leg ulcers are now healed.”

One member of the group, Andrew Sheward, has suffered from leg ulcers for a long time.

He said: “This group is fantastic for us to be part of. We are all going through the same process and I think people don’t always understand what leg ulcer patients go through as they can cause a lot of pain and discomfort.

“Over the last 25 years I have had 10 ulcers and it’s really important for us to have access to services for our mental health and wellbeing.

“The healing process for me has taken a while. One ulcer even took three years to heal.

“I am finding the group very useful for me to gain knowledge and meet likeminded people.”

Joanne added: “We have various senior professionals attending, from Minds Matter, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists and health and wellbeing workers.  Our colleagues at Wyre Borough Council have provided a lovely venue and information on social activities, volunteering opportunities and how to keep active.”

Suzanne Parker, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist in the Fylde and Wyre CCG Falls Team, said: “I attend the group to demonstrate some exercises that patients can be doing to help with their healing.

“Each individual’s healing process is different.

“Wounds heal better from compressions on the area and for patients to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.”

The group is set to continue in the future with the possibility of it rolling out to different communities.

Simon Swindells, Volunteer Coordinator at Wyre Borough Council, secured the space at the Wyre Estuary Centre for the group.

He said: “The facilities we have in the community are fantastic. It’s great to hold this group somewhere out of a GP or hospital setting and for our patients to be comfortable in a nice environment.

“We offer many schemes and active programmes in Wyre and we are delighted to be working together to help our patients receive this service.”


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