According to a study published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, researchers have highlighted that “Individual perception about illness or beliefs are the most important predictor in DFU healing”. A patient’s understanding of DFUs and their beliefs about the condition directly impacts healing outcomes.
The study has addressed the importance of literacy in improving the outcomes.
There lies a necessity in promoting DFU literacy and healing, which should be implemented within the first two months after the DFU diagnosis.
Those with greater health literacy can manage their health better, including DFU healing. It is important to assess patients’ beliefs about DFUs to promote understanding and foster a sense of DFU literacy. By enhancing an approach like this, patients may engage more in self-care, causing improved healing outcomes.
Researchers identified demographic, clinical, and psychological contributors to DFU healing and the favourable healing process.
One hundred fifty-three chronic DFU patients were evaluated at baseline (T0). After two and six months, 108 and 71 patients were assessed at T1 and T2.
The important factors considered in the evaluation were literacy on health, stress, depression, anxiety and perception of illness.
Researchers used Cox proportional hazard models for analysing predictors of DFU healing and favourable healing process, meaning a reduction in the wound area, including the assessment of time to achieve those outcomes.
The study results are:
56.1 % meaning nearly More than half of patients had their DFU healed.83.6 % presented a favourable healing process.The median time for healing was 112 days.The time for a favourable process was 30 days.Illness perceptions were the only predictor of wound healing.Women being more aware and having adequate health literacy are more likely to have successful healing of first diabetic foot ulcer.
Pereira et al. said that our study is the first one presenting the role of belief as a significant predictor of DFU healing.
We concluded that one of the most crucial predictors driving a favourable healing process is HEALTH LITERACY.
In the initial stages of treatment, it is important to implement brief, comprehensive interventions for changing misperceptions and promoting DFU literacy to achieve better health outcomes.
Graça Pereira M, Vilaça M, Pedras S, Carvalho A, Vedhara K, Jesus Dantas M, Machado L. Wound healing and healing process in patients with diabetic foot ulcers: A survival analysis study. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2023 Apr;198:110623. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2023.110623. Epub 2023 Mar 11. PMID: 36907358.