Foot ulceration is a common problem for people with diabetes, especially those with peripheral neuropathy and/or peripheral vascular disease. One of the best approaches in diabetes management is making sure that both the patients and members of the health team are all educated about reducing the risk factors for lower extremity complications. On this blog, MyHomeCareBiz would like to give you some essential strategies on teaching foot care to your patients.
Before teaching foot care, the clinician needs to assess the patient’s present knowledge, activities, beliefs, and capabilities by asking "What are you practicing now to care for your feet?” Based on the patient’s response, tailor fit the teachings based on their individual risk level and their current regimen.
Provide only realistic information and avoid focusing on the “Don’ts” but rather present positive statements like “Do’s”. It is helpful for patients to have some written guidelines about foot care and make sure they agree to the plan to ensure compliance. It is likewise important to ensure that the teaching plan is appropriate for the patient’s language and literacy level.
To ensure better outcomes, always encourage patient involvement. Demonstrate the skill you’d like to teach and have the patient perform a return demonstration. Point out areas that need extra attention. If needed, use a magnifying glass or a mirror to help the patient inspect all sides of the feet including the bottom part.
It’s not only the patient’s feet that need your attention – also teach the patient or caregiver to inspect the shoes daily or on a regular basis for loose linings, cracks, pebbles or anything that may irritate the skin. It’s also important that the patient knows that walking barefoot is not advisable.
There are so many things that care providers should consider when taking care of patient at risk for foot complications, so it is very important to focus on preventive measures before it’s too late. As a bonus, I have compiled a complete list of best practices on diabetic foot care for you -- the link to this document can be found in this blog.Download EHR Confidentiality Agreement