Wound care management as well as its challenges has been a great focus in many studies. A UK study from 2012 revealed that wound care management has become a greater economic burden on the National Health System (NHS) than managing obesity.

Chronic wounds have become a major public health issue as well. A US study aimed at evaluating mortality among patients with chronic wounds found that out of 1,815 patients, over a quarter of wounded patients died during a two-year period.

Such findings demonstrate the significant need of wound care management, education and awareness among healthcare professionals and the community alike. As an entity that deals closely with the community in providing health consultation and advice, community pharmacies can play an important role by being a valuable resource in wound care.

The following are several ways for a community pharmacy to make wound care as a successful pharmacy niche.

1. Devote a special section for wound care

Offering unique, specific solutions for wound care and healing is one of the ways in which a community pharmacy can make wound care part of their main focus. This can be done by devoting a special section for wound care in the pharmacy.

To cater for patients with various conditions, community pharmacies can provide specific wound healing and infection control solutions for the different types of wounds such as abrasions, punctures and lacerations. Furthermore, as the wound repair process involves different phases, namely coagulation, inflammation, proliferative phase and scar formation, community pharmacies can provide products to support patients step-by-step through the different healing processes.

2. Stay up-to-date with the latest research on wound care

Keeping current with the most recent findings on the challenges, technology, strategies and materials related to wound healing and wound care management is essential to make it a successful niche for the community pharmacy.

For instance, the development of biomaterials that encapsulate bioactive compounds or cell therapies is one the recent advances made to enhance wound healing. Being in the know when it comes to clinically approved products that aid in wound healing can help community pharmacies to offer the most effective solution for their patients.

3. Harness existing pharmacist expertise

Expertise is definitely something that all community pharmacies should leverage on in order to provide quality service to patients. Pharmacists are in a key position to educate and enlighten patients about different wound classifications, various stages of wound healing, wound management strategies and treatment options.

They can also help patients assess the appropriateness of self-treatment, guide patients on the proper selection of first aid products and advise them to seek further medical attention when necessary. Needless to say, this requires pharmacists to be competent and have a wide knowledge of the different and most effective types of antiseptics, topical first aid antibiotics and wound dressings, as well as common treatments to enhance wound healing such as wound irrigation.

4. Develop health literacy

Community pharmacies can improve health literacy and empower the community by providing ample resources for patients, families and caregivers.

By initiating or participating in campaigns that promote awareness on wound care, disseminate information that can educate the public on the importance of proper wound management, as well as offer personalised patient consultation, community pharmacies can play a major role in contributing towards the effort of meeting the needs of the public health system. MIMS

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