A service for people with long-standing leg problems is celebrating after the League of Friends helped finance clinical rooms for it to work from.
The Complex Leg Wound Service, run by Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, provides ongoing care and dressing of venous leg ulcers – debilitating and painful wounds which can continue for months or years without proper care.
Funding from League of Friends has helped provide nurses with a fully equipped base at Stroud community hospital, including specialist furniture for use when treating patients.
Liz Wahltuch, a specialist nurse in the Stroud Hospital clinic, said their base – in what used to be the hospital pharmacy – had been very well received by both colleagues and service users.
She said: “The patient feedback has been very positive. We have room to work in, our patients can be treated in privacy, and the furniture is relaxing for the patient while allowing nurses to work in comfort. We can be washing and bandaging legs for long periods, so specialist furniture designed for this clinical work is really important for us.”
Venous leg ulcers can cause severe pain, as well as itching and swelling in the affected area. Because they are symptoms of high blood pressure in the veins, they commonly re-occur until the underlying cause is addressed.
Effective treatment can require three or four months of cleaning and dressing with compression bandages – sometimes on a daily basis – as well as advice for patients or carers on self-management to prevent further ulcers.
Dr Roy Lamb, president of Stroud League of Friends, said: “We are extremely happy to be supporting this service for the people of Stroud and to see time and resource being directed to tackling a difficult and isolating condition.”
The service opened for referrals in Stroud in March, and in Lydney at the end of June, as part of ongoing work between the Trust and Gloucester Clinical Commissioning Group to develop services for people with leg ulcers across the county.
Ingrid Barker, chair of the Trust, added: “This was a much-needed service and we’re extremely grateful to both our commissioners for the foresight to help us develop it, and to the League of Friends for their invaluable support in creating a great environment for my colleagues and patients in Stroud.
“So far in 2016 the Complex Leg Wound Service has helped more than 700 people with this painful and isolating condition, and we are looking forward to further expansion into other areas of the county later this year so that we can have the greatest possible impact for the people we serve.”