New report supports Diabetes Canada’s urgent call for amputation prevention funding in Ontario.
Diabetes foot complications place a huge toll on affected individuals, their families and the health-care system. Diabetes Canada has been urging the Government of Ontario for public coverage to increase timely access to medical devices that help treat diabetic foot ulcers and reduce the risk of amputation. Today, a new report highlights why the government needs to act quickly given the evidence that amputations could be prevented if public funding of products known as offloading devices was made available.
Health Quality Ontario (HQO) released findings from a recent health technology assessment that assessed the clinical benefits and harms of specific products that support people with diabetic foot ulcers. These include fibreglass total contact casting, removable cast walkers, and irremovable cast walkers. Read the report here.
“The report echoes findings in an economic and clinical study commissioned by Diabetes Canada in 2015, which noted that approximately 2,000 lower limb amputations happen every year in Ontario because a diabetic foot ulcer did not heal properly,” says Jan Hux, chief science officer of Diabetes Canada. “That’s about one amputation every four hours.”
Offloading devices, such as specialized casts, help to relieve pressure on foot ulcers, allowing them to heal properly, reducing the amount of time patients spend in emergency rooms, hospitals and clinics.
Diabetes Canada and HQO estimate that the Government of Ontario could save tens of millions of dollars by funding offloading devices. HQO estimates the net savings to be close to $17 million in the first year of funding and $22 million by 2020, and Diabetes Canada’s report, which used somewhat different methodology, estimates the net savings could be even greater.
Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins has previously stated that the Government would accept HQO’s recommendations once they were finalized.
Diabetes Canada urges the Government of Ontario to act quickly on Health Quality Ontario’s and its own recommendations in order to help prevent amputations and further strain on the health care system and people with diabetes.
Tell your MPP that you want to see public funding of offloading devices happen in Ontario. Contact your member here.
Diabetes Canada has been working with Wounds Canada, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy to advocate for proper foot care services and supports for people with diabetes. For more information, please visit: http://www.diabetes.ca/publications-newsletters/advocacy-reports/impact-of-offloading-devices/ontario-report
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