MEDIA RELEASE: Chronic wounds are costing lives in aged care
Tuesday, 16 August 2022
For immediate release: 12.01am, Tuesday 16 August 2022

The solution to chronic wounds is bleeding obvious! That’s why Wounds Australia is raising awareness and pushing for long overdue reform to aged care.

“Wound care is the missing piece of the puzzle in the Federal Government’s aged care reforms,” Wounds Australia Chair Hayley Ryan said.

“Wounds Australia is calling for the Federal Government to adopt its 11 Point Plan that will save hundreds of millions of dollars and prevent thousands needing medical treatment each year.

“Wounds Australia and its 18,000 members and supporters are ready to help drive the policy change needed. But we need national leadership to solve this hidden epidemic.”

Perth’s Yvonne Buters watched her elderly father die painfully in residential aged care when pressure injuries on his feet were not diagnosed and treated correctly. She feels there were missed opportunities to prevent and treat her father’s wounds before they became life threatening.

The majority of pressure injuries are preventable. Yet these painful ulcers cost the Australia health budget almost $1 billion each year and result in over 500,000 lost hospital bed days.

Yvonne’s experience shows staff in aged care need support, information and increased wound education and training to provide the right treatment at the right time.

Wounds Australia Chair Hayley Ryan said there have been too many missed opportunities to improve the health of older Australians. This can be remedied with simple affordable actions.

Wounds Australia is calling for the Minister for Ageing the Hon Anika Wells MP to:

Wounds Australia should be used as the primary resource for designing and adopting best practice in wound management.

Professor Fiona Wood and Hayley Ryan are in Canberra on Monday 15 August and are available for interviews throughout Wound Awareness Week.

Professor Fiona Wood AM – Wound Awareness Week National Ambassador
Professor Fiona Wood will lead 2022 Wound Awareness Week activities. She was named Australian of the Year in 2005 and a ‘National Living Treasure’ in 2014 for her world leading work in burns medicine, including ‘spray on skin’ to treat the 2002 Bali bombing victims.

Hayley Ryan CNC – Wounds Australia Chair
Wounds Australia Chair Hayley Ryan has over two decades of nursing and wound care expertise. She is a leading educator in the Australian and New Zealand health and aged care sectors on the principles of wound management and infection control.

Case Study – Yvonne Buters (Perth)
As a former occupational therapist, and with an emergency doctor and nurse in the family, Yvonne felt more than capable to ask questions about her elderly father’s care. However, even with her background, Yvonne missed the early warning signs of her father’s chronic wounds. An investigation by the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner found Yvonne’s father experienced a ‘lack of appropriate skin care’ that lead to the deterioration of his wound and other ‘serious failings’ in his care. Yvonne now works for improvements to the aged care system with advocacy group Aged Care Reform Now.

Wounds Australia will launch its new mascot Oozie T. Wound at the Big Oozie Bake Off, with health and aged care professionals hosting morning teas to share their best oozy cakes, biscuits and treats, while raising awareness of chronic wounds.

Wounds Australia is the national peak body for wound prevention, diagnosis, treatment and healing, with nearly 18,000 members and supporters across the country, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, allied health and aged care professionals.

Chronic wounds are wounds that have not progressed through normal healing stages within 30 days. They may heal very slowly, partially or reoccur. The warning signs of chronic wounds include pain and heat, odour, excess fluid and taking longer than a month to heal. Leg ulcers and pressure sores are common types of chronic wounds.

An annual week of awareness-raising activities conceived and executed by Wounds Australia. WAW 2023 is 4-10 September.

Wounds Australia Media Office: | 0432 899139