A new study by leading community care provider Silverchain has shown 80 per cent of wounds were healed upon patient discharge from Silverchain care or when transferred to self-care.  

The study, the largest contemporary study of community wound treatment in Australia, is part of efforts by Silverchain to improve the care of chronic wounds, which cost in excess of $3 billion every year.

The study, titled ‘Best practice, best products, best outcomes in community wound care: three descriptive cohorts,’ was published in the December 2022 edition of Journal of Wound Practice and Research.

Silverchain Professor Primary Health Care and Community Nursing, Keryln Carville, co-authored the paper, along with Silverchain senior researchers Dr Janine Alan and Ms Joanna Smith.  

Professor Carville said the results demonstrated excellent outcomes in wound healing when best practice and best products were standard care. 

“The aim of this study was to determine the number of clients with wounds, the types of wounds treated by Silverchain in clients’ homes or community clinics, and their cost to treat,” Professor Carville said. 

“More than 400,000 Australians suffer chronic wounds each year, costing the health and aged care system an estimated $3 billion, however, this does not take into account wounds managed by community health care providers, like Silverchain.” 

Professor Carville said it had been reported that 70 to 80 percent of individuals with wounds were treated in the community, and predominately by community nurses who spent 60 per cent of time involved in these activities.  

“Wounds can have an enormous impact on patients’ quality of life and sense of wellbeing, making daily tasks difficult and causing pain and embarrassment,” Professor Carville said.

The study included more than 41,000 clients with almost 89,000 wounds which were treated by Silverchain nurses in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland over three time periods between 2016 and 2021. The study included clients of all ages, with a median age of 74 years. Acute wounds due to surgery or trauma, were the most common wound across the three time periods, followed by leg ulcers and foot ulcers. The median length of treatment for all discharged wounds was 18-22 days.

Silverchain Executive Director of Research and Innovation, Professor Anna Barker, said the findings were taken from more than five years of research. 

“The results showcase Silverchain’s best practice outcomes in wound management,” Professor Barker said.

“We are also supporting the development of future wound care research leaders with several employees undertaking PhD studies in the field. Silverchain is the leader of wound care research and practice in Australia, and our first-class methods and models of care are internationally recognised.”

The data collected in this study will be used for future benchmarking of care outcomes in community nursing.