Ongoing impact of COVID-19

The impact of the ongoing pandemic on the overall healthcare systems is becoming more and more evident. COVID-19 is highly contagious, and its rapid spread delayed treatments within conventional care. When the number of confirmed cases went up, the shortage of medical resources became a real challenge. Healthcare systems globally had to deal with high levels of absent trained personnel and reallocate healthcare resources to manage covid-19 patients. These resources include among others: hospital beds, nurses, essential personnel, and medical devices, which reduces access to care for the non-infected patients. One of the affected areas is wound care, not in the least because it is being exempted from essential procedures lists in most countries[1].

For example, the guidelines for the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention state that their healthcare facilities and personnel need to provide urgent care for non-COVID-19 conditions in the safest way possible for personnel and patients. The need to identify higher acuity care and refer patients, while reducing the in-person care treatments. This has moved wound care into the homecare setting for most patients, which is often suboptimal and reliant on local infrastructure.

Also, in the UK, the coronavirus has had a major indirect impact on NHS services, from primary care to hospital treatment; this resulted in disrupted care and cancelled hospital treatments for tens of thousands of patients. On top of that, between January and September 2020, there were 4 million fewer referrals for outpatient treatments than in the same period in 2019.[3]

Lack of appropriate treatment options for patients is a serious development, especially in wound care. The moment a wound occurs, it is not immediately an urgent medical situation. However, if the wound is not treated accurately the situation can escalate rapidly to a much harder to treat infection and or biofilm in the wound. Unsuccessful treatment of difficult to heal wounds may lead to enlargement of the wound, bone involvement or in the worst case, amputation [4]. For example, amputation rates in diabetes have risen dramatically in both the US and Europe on the back of the pandemic and are now called a pandemic within a pandemic. [5]

Four researchers from the Unit of Vascular Surgery of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome conducted a survey among both patients and healthcare providers to map the impact of COVID-19 on the severeness of chronic wounds [6].  

  • In 83% of cases, doctors and nurses observed a decrease in patients’ appointments.
  • In the case of missed appointments, 61% of patients did not maintain any type of contact with the specialist and only 23% of patients visited the wound clinic as normal.
  • In 76% of the cases, the pandemic negatively affected the management of wound dressings. 
  • In 20% of patients, an antibiotic was added to their usual therapy and a painkiller in 5.1% of cases.

The obtained data show the negative impact of the COVID‐19 pandemic on wound care in terms of the diagnostic workup, treatment and maintenance of chronic wounds and hospitalisation, as well as access to the primary care physician. The data shows that innovation is needed to reduce the pressure on healthcare organisations and at the same time provide high quality care for the patient.

DEBx Medical has a different approach with DEBRICHEM®, this new debridement agent can address infection and its biofilm in chronic wounds in the home-setting. Due to its uncomplicated use, DEBRICHEM® could be highly beneficial especially during the COVID-19 pandemic or similar situations where patients cannot reach hospitals to undergo debridement treatment to treat their infected chronic wounds. 

Curious how we do this? Visit our COVID-19 page on our website.

References:

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