Foot problems related to diabetes are common, and sensation and the blood supply to the feet can be impaired, which if not detected early enough can predispose a patient to ulceration and in some cases amputation. There are over 7000 diabetes related amputations annually in England, and many of these are preventable. Early detection of foot problems in patients with diabetes is vital in preventing these, including an annual foot check and ongoing monitoring and management by a podiatrist and the wider medical team as required. One of the most important issues however, is an individual’s awareness of their own condition and how it affects their feet.
Over the past year, I have been fortunate to be involved in a project with our professional body, the College of Podiatry and Foot in Diabetes UK as well as other professional groups including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, the British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists on the development of a smartphone and tablet app for patients with diabetes on maintaining their foot health. The app is also recognised by the Royal College of Nursing and Diabetes UK.
I would encourage all of our patients with diabetes (or family members) to download the free app to their devices, as it provides straightforward, practical advice on looking after your feet, and how to recognise when things go wrong (and when and how to seek help).
The app is available on Apple iOS and will be available on Android devices soon. For more information, search for diabetic foot screening app on the app store, or visit:
Pics 1 and 2 (below): The app includes videos on what to expect at your annual foot assessment and
allows you to save your appointments to your calendar and it notifies you beforehand. It also allows you to store important numbers including your GP, podiatrist and hospital foot clinic.
We are delighted to announce that prose written by our Practice Business Manager, Reggie Simpson, will be featured in the Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Rhyme & Reason 2018 diary, now in its 26th year. The theme for this forthcoming year’s diary is ‘Freedom’. All proceeds from sales of the diary go to support this worthwhile charity.
Reggie says: ‘Although my entry wasn't among the top poetry and prize winners, I was chuffed to be selected for the 2018 diary. The theme was quite broad, but my degrees in politics and love of writing invariably drew me to entering the competition. In the end I settled on a focus of freedom in healthcare, no doubt inspired by my current employment at Betafeet Podiatry and the noble work of Rennie Grove Hospice Care ( www.renniegrove.org ).
Rennie Grove Hospice Care, formally known as Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, merged with Grove House, St Albans in 2010 to integrate services in south western Hertfordshire. The ethos and values of the two charities were closely aligned with the principle of allowing patients to lead a good quality of life at home for as long as possible, helping patients and their families avoid the distress of unnecessary hospital visits whenever possible.
The diaries can be ordered from the Rennie Grove website, payment by debit/credit card. It's part of their annual Christmas/holiday promotion. There will also be copies in local Rennie Grove shops. They are £5 each with additional postage if bought online. Shop locations can be found here: http://www.renniegrove.org/support/our-shops/online-shop/page/2/ .
Here is Reggie’s entry (to appear in the month of September 2018):
‘Do not count the days; make the days count.’
Muhammad Ali. Professional Boxer. Audacious. Charismatic. A winner in the ring.
But even when you have won it all, life throws you a few more punches.
Yes, his name opened doors and wealth, but the bombastic man of his younger years was humbled in later life, and following retirement, he dedicated himself increasingly to charitable work. Parkinson’s was already taking hold.
He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005, the highest honour the USA can bestow. He died in June 2016, aged 74.
Now the news is about boxing helping dementia sufferers.
So what does this mean for freedom? Does getting battered around the head spell freedom and choice? One would say yes; a boxer is free to take such risks. When the consequences deal you a fatal blow as a result, when do you lose your freedom? Is it when you have been reduced to a shadow of your former self, a normal human being, and have to rely on others? Muhammad Ali likely had plenty of resources to ensure his final days would help him on his final journey.
We tend to think of freedom in political terms. It is hard to remove freedom in healthcare from politics. Think NHS reform, among others. Freedom in a healthcare environment means more to the individuals and families when they have life-limiting illnesses and need the care of volunteer-run hospices such as Iain Rennie Grove.
The NHS gives patients the rights to make choices about different aspects of the care they receive, from the different treatment options available. How these are chosen is individual, although for those with life threatening or limiting illnesses this choice will fall on family members.
I quote the following:
‘In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties’.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel, Philosopher
September is World Alzheimer’s Month.