There are lots of articles and other sources of advice available to help people with diabetes care for their feet. Most instruct you to work closely with your doctor or podiatrist, but very often the important role of diabetes nurses in diabetic foot care is overlooked. In this article, we will explain the many ways a nurse can be a helpful partner in planning and following through with good care for your diabetic feet. Read on to learn more.
A Nurse Can Assist You at Every Level of Care
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that nurses make up one of the largest groups of health care providers in the world, and they are involved at every level of care. Nurses’ main objectives are to promote good health, prevent disease, care for patients and help patients comply with medical instructions easily. In pursuit of these objectives, a nurse plays a number of important roles.
15 Things a Good Diabetes Nurse Should Do
Your nurse will set up a regular schedule of home visits to check on your progress, answer any questions you and your health care team may have and help you with any problems you are experiencing. Your nurse should:
|1. Take a full medical history.
2. Perform a complete physical exam.
3. Examine your bare feet and assess the condition of your skin and any wounds that may be present.
4. Share results of your exam with pertinent members of your diabetic foot care team.
5. Explain treatment and prevention options.
6. Encourage your active participation in your care, along with that of your family and daily care givers.
7. Make practical, attainable recommendations about diet and exercise.
8. Help you and your family and care givers overcome any obstacles to your successful participation in care.
9. Help you make necessary contacts and appointments for follow-up care (e.g. clinic visits and blood tests).
10. Recommend and encourage support treatments such as physical therapy.
11. Review your medications and make adjustment recommendations to your doctor as needed.
12. Teach you and/or your care givers how to perform daily foot exams and apply wound dressing correctly.
13. Provide instructions regarding choice of wound dressing for various types of foot sores.
14. Provide instructions for daily foot care (e.g. washing and skin and nail care).
15. Help you select the right kind of socks, slippers and shoes to protect and support your feet.
What if You Already Have Diabetic Foot Problems?
Nurses specializing in diabetic foot care can provide a thorough diabetic foot exam to identify specific problems, such as peripheral neuropathy, which can lead to ulcers and even gangrene if not properly cared for. Your nurse can identify problems early on and provide specific instructions to help you care for any existing or developing foot ulcers and prevent the development of more.
If needed, your diabetes nurse can instruct you and your other care givers in proper wound bandaging and dressing to protect any existing foot sores and help them heal. He or she can also evaluate your need for assistive equipment (e.g. cane, walker, wheelchair, brace, diabetic footwear, etc.) and make recommendations to help you attain the helping devices you need, along with the necessary training for successful use.
A Diabetic Care Nurse is a Valuable Team Member
Because diabetes is becoming a greater and greater problem around the world, the importance of skilled assistance in care cannot be over-stressed. Working closely with a diabetes nurse can help you identify and overcome challenges and focus on your overall health care goals, such as lifestyle improvements and personal care routines.
A skilled diabetes nurse educator can evaluate your situation and design a program of care just for you.
In the course of your care, your nurse will:
- Educate your family members and community about your condition
- Teach you about various aspects of your illness and care
- Provide answers to your questions and concerns
- Provide referrals to appropriate care providers
- Lead the way to your best health outcome
- Do research on your behalf
- Stand up for your rights
- Provide direct care
A well trained nurse specializing in diabetes care is an invaluable team member who can help you attain and maintain good health through coordinated attention to every aspect of your life. Working closely with your nurse gives you good access to solutions to physical, mental, emotional, social, cultural and even spiritual challenges. Taking this kind of whole mind and body approach to wellness greatly increases your chances of success in avoiding complications and attaining your health goals.