Case scenario

You are a community pharmacist on shift with a pharmacy assistant. Just as you finish dispensing a prescription, you notice one of your regular patients, Mrs Rafa, asking your pharmacy assistant about treatments for tinea. You know that Mrs Rafa has a history of diabetes mellitus and decide to investigate, as you are aware that skin traumas can develop into foot ulcers in patients living with diabetes.

Learning objectives

After successful completion of this CPD activity, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Describe diabetic foot ulcers
  • Discuss treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers
  • Identify the role of the pharmacist.

Competency standards (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 2.4, 3.5

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Introduction

A diabetic foot ulcer is a break in the skin of the foot, involving the epidermis and at least part of the dermis of a person with diabetes mellitus.1 While there are other types of diabetes mellitus (e.g. gestational diabetes), references to diabetes mellitus/ diabetes in this article are generally restricted to diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2.

Diabetic foot ulcers are a leading cause of diabetes-related amputations and significantly increase the mortality of people living with diabetes.2 Management of a diabetic foot ulcer focuses on wound healing, treatment of infection (if present), treatment of ischaemia and glycaemic control.3 Pharmacists can contribute to improved outcomes for patients with diabetic foot ulcers through participation in multidisciplinary care teams.4

Diabetic foot ulcers in Australia

Around 1.25 million Australians (5% of the population) are known to have diabetes mellitus, but there ma

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