This story comes from Wendy, a podiatrist working in rural and remote Queensland. Wendy’s story tells us that rural podiatry is a mix of face to face, multidisciplinary care and using digital health technology, including telehealth, all form part of their day to day work.
Generally, I have a busy clinic days full of ‘High Risk’ feet. The aim is to prevent and reduce lower limb amputations, identify and treat foot ulcerations, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease and foot deformities.
Most of my patients are in the community, but I also work with multidisciplinary teams such as allied health assistants, occupational therapists, medical specialists and nursing teams. Plus travelling across our beautiful countryside to get to and from my clinics! Most of the services I provide are the high-risk foot service. But I am lucky out here to provide outreach to 8 communities and I work closely with local teams.
The challenges I face are largely due to geography. So geography is the main challenge- I can’t be in all 8 towns at once! Many of our towns don’t have private podiatry services available so we are trying to ensure local community needs are met. How I deal with these challenges is I utilise our allied health assistants and foot care nurses that support my clinics and provide screening and basic foot care services. I also utilise telehealth and photos to develop wound management plans and access specialist input. We are working on a telehealth model of service delivery for providing support to local teams for clients presenting with new foot ulcers when I am not available. This is a great opportunity to use technology to ensure best outcomes for our rural patients.
Folk out here are just so helpful, kind and caring. Plus there are so many activities! So much goes on, it’s a busy social life for sure. There is so much beauty to see and so much to do. A Sunday morning hike, a Saturday afternoon on the River or out on a property with friends enjoying a BBQ. Life is just so much more rewarding out here in the Wide Bay and it sure is a beautiful part of the World to live in.