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Helping patients gain control of cellulitis

Image shows two women and a man 

A specialist Swansea Bay team has pioneered an innovative approach to tackling a painful and potentially life-threatening skin condition.

Cellulitis is an acute skin infection that causes pain, poor quality of life and impaired activities of daily living, plus a life-threatening risk of sepsis if mismanaged.

A new digital CELLUPROM system has been developed to help plan care and support patients with the issues they find most challenging.

It is a system that has led to success at a national healthcare awards event.

Image shows two women and a man CELLUPROM has been developed through the Cellulitis Improvement Programme, run by a team based in Cimla and the health board’s designated clinical area in Swansea University’s Singleton campus, and measures cellulitis-specific patient related outcomes.

Patients complete a CELLUPROM after their very first contact in the programme and again when they are discharged, rating a number of categories about how cellulitis is affecting them.

PICTURED: (from left) National Cellulitis Improvement Team Leads Linda Jenkins, Joanne Browne and Dave Graham-Woollard.

When comparing results with specific cellulitis-related outcome measures scores tend to reduce, meaning cellulitis is having less impact on their life. For example, patients report feeling less fearful of suffering another episode of cellulitis when they’ve left the programme.

Dr Melanie Thomas, clinical director of Lymphoedema Wales, along with Linda Jenkins, national cellulitis improvement specialist physiotherapist, and a Swansea Bay team were behind the creation of CELLUPROM.

“Cellulitis is a horrible condition which makes people feel really unwell,” said Dr Thomas. “On top of that, there is the fear of having another episode, so by managing the modifiable risk factors it allows the person to take responsibility for their own health.”

The programme also delivers better results for patients and helps ease some of the pressures on the NHS via their value-based health care.

Image shows a group of people with an award Nearly 10,000 people from all over Wales have received a Reducing the Risk of Cellulitis leaflet and a clinical appointment invitation. To date, nearly half have opted in to receive an assessment.

Treatment including skincare, healthy eating, exercises, wound management and compression occurs virtually and face-to-face at mobile clinics and health centres. That enables care closer to home, which raises patient awareness in identifying, managing and reducing the risk of cellulitis.

PICTURED: The Cellulitis Team and Tim Kelland (centre) from the Finance Delivery Unit were successful at the MediWales Innovation Awards 2022.

As a result of their work, the programme was successful at the UK Advanced Healthcare Awards, winning the Welsh Government’s award for value based care: making best use of resources to maximise outcomes.

The awards identify and share examples of good innovative practice throughout the UK.

It also scooped the Scaling Up Innovation and Transformation accolade at the MediWales Innovation Awards 2022 in December.

Dr Thomas added: “We are all absolutely delighted to win the awards for our new Cellulitis Improvement Programme.

“The results highlight how beneficial providing the right information at the right time can be in preventative medicine.”

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