Team Approach to Amputation Prevention: Notes from Thailand

Intriguing data from Chaing Mai University in Thailand continuing the theme that interdisciplinary teams dedicated to limb salvage reduce costs and improve quality of life amongst people with diabetes.

A multidisciplinary diabetic foot protocol at chiang mai university hospital: cost and quality of life.

Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai,Thailand.

The consensus is that a multidisciplinary approach for patients with diabetic foot ulcer is effective in reducing the number of leg amputations. Concern remains, however, about cost and health-related quality of life issues. From August 2005 to March 2007, a multidisciplinary diabetic foot protocol (DFP) was used at the authors’ teaching hospital.There were devices to reduce pressure on the foot.After healing, there were custom-fabricated orthoses and footwear, and monitoring of progress in ambulation. All subjects were educated about diabetic foot disease and its complications and prevention.They were also instructed to call and visit the hospital if there were any signs of new lesions.This study compared responses to the short form 36 questionnaires (SF-36) about health-related quality of life and the cost of medical care for patients receiving DFP care from August 2005 to March 2007 and those who had standard care from August 2003 to July 2005.There were 56 and 40 diabetic foot ulcer patients on DFP and standard care packages, respectively. Their gender distribution and mean age were similar. The average total cost of DFP patients was significantly lower than that for standard care patients ($1127.02 and $1824.58, respectively, P = .02). DFP patients had significantly higher scores on the SF-36 for both the physical and mental health dimensions than standard care patients. It was concluded that DFP was less expensive and gave patients a better quality of life, compared to standard care. On the basis of this finding, DFP should be used by every hospital to improve outcomes for patients with diabetic foot ulcer.

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