Aim: The aim of the present study was to implement and evaluate a system of care for patients with chronic leg ulceration (CLU) in Poland.
Methods: All patients within two defined geographical areas in Poland were identified for inclusion in the study. A model of care was developed based on guidelines, including the appropriate education of health professionals treating patients, access to non-invasive methods to determine the ulcer aetiology, compression therapy in those with proven venous ulceration.
Results: In total 309 patients were identified with CLU at the start of the study (120 men, 189 women). Both regions had a similar profile of patients having a median (IQR) duration of ulceration of 96 (30-168) months. Most (75.7%) patients were assessed using clinical signs and symptoms alone, with a mean (SD) number of treatments per week at 1.8 (1.9) visits. Two years after implementation, the numbers of patients had reduced to 205 (86 men, 119 women) a reduction of 33%. Post implementation more patients were treated at home (49.3% versus 19.5%) with a corresponding reduction in those seen at health centres (35.6% versus 63.3%). The mean (SD) number of visits was reduced to 1.3 (0.7). During implementation the healing rate at 30 weeks improved from 73.3% to 82.9%, with a corresponding reduction in amputations from 6.3% to 2.1%. While the cost per patient was higher post-implementation, the overall cost of treating patients within the service reduced from €3847 to €2913 per week.
Conclusion: The development and implementation of an evidence based system of care for patients with CLU in Poland is both clinically and cost effective. This may be used as a model for other regions of Poland.