Diabetes-related foot ulceration (DFU) has a substantial burden on both individuals and healthcare systems both globally and in Australia. There is a pressing need for updated guidelines on wound healing interventions to improve outcomes for people living with DFU. A national expert panel was convened to develop new Australian evidence-based guidelines on wound healing interventions for people with DFU by adapting suitable international guidelines to the Australian context.
The panel followed National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) procedures to adapt suitable international guidelines by the International Working Group of the Diabetic Foot (IWGDF) to the Australian context. The panel systematically screened, assessed and judged all IWGDF wound healing recommendations using ADAPTE and GRADE frameworks for adapting guidelines to decide which recommendations should be adopted, adapted or excluded in the Australian context. Each recommendation had their wording, quality of evidence, and strength of recommendation re-evaluated, plus rationale, justifications and implementation considerations provided for the Australian context. This guideline underwent public consultation, further revision and approval by ten national peak bodies.
Thirteen IWGDF wound healing recommendations were evaluated in this process. After screening, nine recommendations were adopted and four were adapted after full assessment. Two recommendations had their strength of recommendations downgraded, one intervention was not currently approved for use in Australia, one intervention specified the need to obtain informed consent to be acceptable in Australia, and another was reworded to clarify best standard of care. Overall, five wound healing interventions have been recommended as having the evidence-based potential to improve wound healing in specific types of DFU when used in conjunction with other best standards of DFU care, including sucrose-octasulfate impregnated dressing, systemic hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, placental-derived products, and the autologous combined leucocyte, platelet and fibrin dressing. The six new guidelines and the full protocol can be found at: https://diabetesfeetaustralia.org/new-guidelines/
The IWGDF guideline for wound healing interventions has been adapted to suit the Australian context, and in particular for geographically remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This new national wound healing guideline, endorsed by ten national peak bodies, also highlights important considerations for implementation, monitoring, and future research priorities in Australia.