Leading the way in diabetic foot care

Dr Joanne Paton on the new FRAME tool:

Being able to identify and effectively recognise problems with the feet associated with diabetes as soon as they occur could save limbs and lives.

A podiatry academic specialising in diabetic foot care has modernised an online resource designed to help nurses and other health professionals all over the country.

Dr Joanne Paton, Research Fellow of National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), has helped to relaunch the Foot Risk Awareness and Management Education (FRAME) tool. 

Originally developed by the University of Edinburgh for use in Scotland, this free e-learning resource provides the learner with training and advice on how to assess feet affected by problems related to diabetes, using interactive animations and case scenarios. 

Now Dr Paton has modified the content and made the changes to the module to bring it in line with England clinical guidelines, helping to standardise the diabetic foot assessment and raise awareness of the problems to look for and what to do when you find them.

Any health care professional can access the tool, and the content also provides access to the range of patient advice leaflets developed by the College of Podiatrists.

Dr Paton explains that foot problems in people with diabetes cost the NHS a significant amount of money, and helping to standardise the annual diabetic foot assessment is imperative if foot health outcomes are to be improved.

She said: 

“Foot problems in people with diabetes have a significant financial impact on the NHS through a variety of care settings – a report published in 2012 by NHS Diabetes estimated that around £650 million (or £1 in every £150 the NHS spends) is spent on foot ulcers or amputations each year. 

"Therefore it is so important that everyone is on the same page. Being able to identify and effectively recognise problems with the feet associated with diabetes as soon as they occur, and then referring on to the relevant healthcare specialist quickly, could save limbs and lives. The FRAME tool is free of charge and easy to follow, so I would thoroughly encourage anyone working with people with diabetic foot problems to undertake the training.”

The learner may opt to undertake an assessment at the end of the module which, if passed, gives a certificate of completion.

Dr Paton was commissioned by the South West Clinical Network to modify the FRAME content and has worked with the University of Edinburgh to implement the changes.

The FRAME tool is endorsed by Diabetes UK and can be accessed via Diabetes Frame website.

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