Electrotherapy trial promises faster wound healing

ELECTROTHERAPY equipment will be rolled out for the first time in Australia at South West Healthcare as experts search for faster ways to heal wounds. 

Warrnambool specialists are leading the trial, to take place in June. 

Nurse practitioner Terry Swanson said she hoped the new technology would lead to faster recovery rate for patients. 

“That’s one of the outcomes we’re hoping for,” Ms Swanson said. “One of the other outcomes is that it decreases pain. We’re going to do a clinical trial in June on electrical stimulation.

“In the United States they’ve been using electrical stimulation for pain management and wounds for years but we’ll be one of the first groups in Australia to trial it,” Ms Swanson said. 

“Basically a wand goes onto a wound with electrical stimulation and it helps new blood vessels grow into the wound.”  The equipment has already passed the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). 

Experts are presently using ultrasound equipment that breaks down biofilm — a natural coating which prevents healing. 

“This is brand new, we’ll be one of the first,” Ms Swanson said.  

“We’re certainly leading the way in wound management, particularly for a regional centre.” 

“Not every wound can heal — the patient themselves has to be healthy enough and if there’s say poor circulation to the toe then amputation might be needed.” 

Ms Swanson has worked at South West Healthcare for 20 years and is chair of the International Wound Infection Institute. 

Experts in the area are trying to lift their profile among not only patients but also doctors.  Ms Swanson was a key speaker at a series of events last week. 

“It is a speciality. We’re trying to make people aware that there are experts in the field,” she said. 

“It was a national initiative raising awareness about wound management. Our focus this year is on directing patients and clinicians to the wound experts.” 

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