Skip to main content

Evidence to Improve Care

Diabetic Foot Ulcers

Care for Patients in All Settings

Click below to see a list of brief quality statements and scroll down for more information.​​


Quality standards are sets of concise statements designed to help health care professionals easily and quickly know what care to provide, based on the best evidence.

See below for the quality statements and click for more detail.​


Quality Statement 1: Risk Assessment
People with diabetes are assessed for their risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer when they are diagnosed with diabetes and at least once a year thereafter. Patients at higher risk are assessed more frequently. All risk assessments are performed using standard, validated tools.


Quality Statement 2: Patient Education and Self-Management
People with diabetes and their families or caregivers are offered education about diabetic foot care and complications, including basic foot care; how to prevent foot complications and monitor for the signs and symptoms of foot complications; and who to contact in the event of a concerning change.


Quality Statement 3: Referral to an Interprofessional Team
le with a diabetic foot ulcer are referred to an interprofessional team that delivers ongoing, coordinated, integrated care. If they have major complications, they are seen within 24 hours by a team that delivers emergency services and then referred to an interprofessional team for ongoing care.


Quality Statement 4: Comprehensive Assessment
People with a diabetic foot ulcer or foot complications undergo a comprehensive assessment that informs their individualized care plan and includes evaluation of vascular status, the presence of infection, and pressure redistribution to determine the healing potential of the wound.


Quality Statement 5: Individualized Care Plan
People with a diabetic foot ulcer or foot complications have a mutually agreed-upon individualized care plan that identifies patient-centred concerns and is reviewed and updated regularly.


Quality Statement 6: Pressure Redistribution
People with a diabetic foot ulcer or foot complications are offered pressure-redistribution devices as part of their individualized care plan.


Quality Statement 7: Wound Debridement
People with a diabetic foot ulcer have their wound debrided if it is determined as necessary in their assessment, and if it is not contraindicated. Debridement is carried out by a trained health care professional using an appropriate method.


Quality Statement 8: Local Infection Management
People with a diabetic foot ulcer and a local infection receive appropriate treatment, including antimicrobial and non-antimicrobial interventions.


Quality Statement 9: Deep/Surrounding Tissue Infection or Systemic Infection Management
People with a diabetic foot ulcer and a suspected deep/surrounding tissue infection or systemic infection receive urgent assessment (within 24 hours of initiation of care) and systemic antimicrobial treatment.


Quality Statement 10: Wound Moisture Management
People with a diabetic foot ulcer receive wound care that maintains the appropriate moisture balance or moisture reduction in the wound bed.


Quality Statement 11: Health Care Provider Training and Education
People who have developed or are at risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer or foot complications receive care from health care providers with training and education in the assessment and management of diabetic foot ulcers and foot complications.


Quality Statement 12: Transitions in Care
People with a diabetic foot ulcer or foot complications who transition between care settings have a team or provider who is accountable for coordination and communication to ensure the effective transfer of information related to their care.

7

Wound Debridement

People with a diabetic foot ulcer have their wound debrided if it is determined as necessary in their assessment, and if it is not contraindicated. Debridement is carried out by a trained health care professional using an appropriate method.


The purpose of debridement is to remove nonviable, dead (slough and/or necrotic) tissue, callus, and foreign matter (debris) from the wound to reduce infection and promote healing. There are many methods of debridement, but the most common are sharp/surgical, autolytic, and mechanical. The choice of method and frequency of debridement should be based on individual tolerance and preference; the time to complete debridement; the size of the wound and presence of infection; the type of exudate; the amount and nature of foreign matter present; and the skill and training of the health care professional. Sharp debridement requires specialized knowledge, education, and skills.

For Patients

To help your wound heal, you should have dead skin, callus, and debris removed (this is called debridement) if you and your health care professional determine that it is necessary and appropriate.


For Clinicians

Debride wounds for people with a diabetic foot ulcer using an appropriate method of debridement if it is determined as necessary in their assessment, and if it is not contraindicated. Sharp/surgical debridement should be considered first, unless it is contraindicated.


For Health Services

Ensure that health care professionals across settings who care for people with diabetic foot ulcers are trained in appropriate methods of wound debridement. This includes providing access to training programs and materials.

Process Indicator

Percentage of people with a diabetic foot ulcer who have their wound appropriately debrided by a trained health care professional if it is determined as necessary in their assessment and included in their care plan

  • Denominator: number of people with a diabetic foot ulcer and wound debridement determined as necessary in their assessment

  • Numerator: number of people in the denominator who have their wound appropriately debrided (using sharp/surgical, mechanical, or autolytic methods) by a trained health care professional

  • Data source: local data collection

Contraindication

Inadequate vascular supply.


Appropriate method of debridement

Sharp/surgical debridement should be considered first for the removal of slough, dead tissue, and callus, unless there is inadequate vascular supply, and if it is in alignment with the individualized care plan and mutually agreed-upon goals of care. Sharp/surgical debridement may be active/aggressive (extensive and aggressive removal of tissue) or conservative (removal of loose, dead tissue without pain or bleeding). Other appropriate methods include mechanical and autolytic debridement. Pain should be managed during debridement.


Trained health care professional

The health care professional has training specific to the method of debridement being used.

Let’s make our health system healthier

Join Our Patient, Family and Public Advisors Program

Patients, families and the public are central to improving health quality.


Claude Lurette and Kowsiya Vijayartnam, Health Quality Ontario Patient, Family and Caregiver Advisors Council Co-Chairs

Sign up for our newsletter

Are you passionate about quality health care for all Ontarians? Stay in-the-know about the newest programs, reports and news from Health Quality Ontario and sign up for our electronic newsletter.

Health Quality Connect - Health Quality Ontario's newsletter - on an iPad and a cell phone