Australian first study finds massive diabetic foot disease costs

From Queensland University of Technology:

New research from QUT shows preventable hospitalisation from diabetic foot disease is costing Australia hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Senior Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology and co-chair of Diabetic Foot Australia, Peter Lazzarini, said the importance of early prevention of diabetic foot disease was never more important.

Mr Lazzarini led the Australian-first study published in BMJ Open finding one in every 22 patients in our hospitals have active diabetic foot disease.

“Our study, which investigated a representative sample of hospitalised patients in five hospitals across metropolitan and regional Queensland, found 4.6% of all patients had active diabetic foot disease and nearly half of those were in hospital because of their diabetic foot disease.

“This equates to 27,600 hospitalisations each year caused by diabetic foot disease in Australia, which puts diabetic foot disease easily in the top 20 causes of hospitalisation in Australia.”

He said this amounted to an annual direct cost to Australia for hospitalisation alone of $350 million.

“This figure is much higher than we previously thought and is still very much a conservative estimate, because this cost only relates to patients admitted because of their diabetic foot disease in public hospitals,” he said.

Mr Lazzarini said diabetic foot disease didn’t stop with hospitalisation and that it also causes 4,400 amputations and nearly 1,700 deaths in Australia each year.

“If diabetic foot disease is left untreated it can quite easily result in hospitalisation, amputation and even death,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we also found that people hospitalised because of diabetic foot disease had rarely received the recommended multi-disciplinary foot care needed to properly treat their disease in the year prior to their hospitalisation. This seems to confirm our thoughts that people with diabetic foot disease that do not see a multi-disciplinary foot disease team are …

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