Home visits by community nurses do not address the social and psychological needs of these patients.
Following research into the particular problems faced by this client group, Ellie Lindsay set up Debenham Leg Club in 1995 to provide leg ulcer management in a social, non-medical setting, where patients are treated collectively and the emphasis is on social interaction, participation, empathy and peer support.
This social model was conceived as a unique partnership between the district nurses and the local community, in which patients are empowered, through a sense of ownership, to become stakeholders in their own treatment.
Clinics are held weekly in a community cottage, on an informal ‘drop in’ basis and patient contacts average 1,200 per annum, 40% for treatment, the balance for assessment, monitoring and advice.
Identifying a Need
Loneliness is a significant health care issue for many elderly patients in the community. Retirement, poor mobility, the death of family and friends, and the effects of demographic change on the cohesiveness of the family unit can create an environment of social isolation.
The correlation between social isolation, poor compliance to treatment, and low healing rates for patients suffering from leg ulcers is well documented.
Pain, odour, bandages etc. contribute to low self-esteem, depression and social stigma.
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