Life as foot ex­pert keeps Linda on her toes

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

The Oban Times is run­ning a se­ries of ar­ti­cles cham­pi­oning the work car­ried out by Ar­gyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship (HSCP) in the Oban, Lorn and the Isles lo­cal­ity. Each ar­ti­cle fea­tures a spe­cific ser­vice pro­vided by the HSCP and fo­cuses on the staff who pro­vide that ser­vice and the role they play in mak­ing a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence for the peo­ple liv­ing in Oban and sur­round­ing ar­eas. This week we look at the work of Linda John­stone.

Linda John­stone is one of Ar­gyll and Bute Health and So­cial Care Part­ner­ship’s po­di­a­trists, based in Lorn and Is­lands Hospi­tal in Oban.

She qual­i­fied in 2010 af­ter com­plet­ing three years of train­ing and is reg­is­tered with the Health and Care Pro­fes­sions Coun­cil, which is a reg­u­la­tory body that main­tains the reg­is­ter of a num­ber of health­care pro­fes­sion­als. She works as part of a small team of three po­di­a­trists and one trainee po­di­a­try as­sis­tant, who pro­vide po­di­a­try ser­vices from sev­eral clin­ics in Oban and sur­round­ing ar­eas, in­clud­ing Tiree, Coll, Colon­say, and

Mull.

Po­di­a­trists, who were tra­di­tion­ally known as chi­ropodists, are health care pro­fes­sion­als who have been trained to pre­vent, di­ag­nose, treat and re­ha­bil­i­tate ab­nor­mal con­di­tions of the feet and lower limbs. They also can help to sup­port peo­ple to re­main mo­bile and ac­tive, re­lieve pain and treat in­fec­tions.

The po­di­a­try ser­vice pro­vides:

Nail surgery un­der lo­cal anaes­thetic for in­fected, in­grown, thick­ened or painful nails.

Wound care

Child foot health Man­age­ment of the ‘at risk’ foot

Treat­ment of painful corns and cal­lous

Mus­cu­loskele­tal prob­lems, in­clud­ing heel pain, arch pain and bunions

Or­thotic ther­apy (lower limb custom-made an­kle/foot sup­port equip­ment)

Health pro­mo­tion and ad­vice on ver­ru­cae, dry skin, sweaty feet, blis­ters and fun­gal nails

The po­di­a­trists also pro­vide train­ing and self-care ad­vice for car­ers, pa­tients and fam­ily mem­bers to sup­port per­sonal foot care needs such as toe­nail cut­ting and fil­ing dry skin. Per­sonal foot care train­ing cour­ses are avail­able through­out the year and peo­ple in­ter­ested can check they meet the cri­te­ria to sign up for the course or get fur­ther in­for­ma­tion by con­tact­ing the Po­di­a­try Ad­min Sup­port Team direct on 01631 788 977. There

is also foot care ad­vice and video re­sources avail­able on NHS In­form web­site www. nhsin­form.scot which are in­tu­itive and trusted clin­i­cal NHS ad­vice and re­sources.

Adult foot prob­lems oc­cur, or can be wors­ened, be­cause of poorly fit­ting shoes. Po­di­a­trists can pro­vide ad­vice on suit­able footwear. More of­ten than not many peo­ple wear slip­pers at home be­cause they are easy to put on and off, and are soft and com­fort­able. How­ever, slip­pers do not give much sup­port to the foot and the soles may have lit­tle cush­ion­ing. They may also lead to trips and falls around the house.

Linda said: ‘It is re­ally im­por­tant for peo­ple to check they are look­ing af­ter their feet prop­erly and this in­cludes wear­ing suit­able footwear to avoid slips, trips and falls.

‘There’s a va­ri­ety of things we can ed­u­cate pa­tients on, in­clud­ing their fam­ily or car­ers to re­duce the risk of falls. How­ever, the rea­sons peo­ple fall can be com­plex and some­times you’ll need the sup­port of oth­ers.

‘Our team of­fers sup­port and help to re­duce risk of fur­ther in­juries, and help you to con­tinue to carry out ac­tiv­i­ties that are im­por­tant to you.

‘Last year there was a new tele­phone ser­vice launched in Ar­gyll and Bute for peo­ple at risk of a fall or who have had a fall. By tele­phon­ing the new falls num­ber peo­ple are di­rectly con­tact­ing Ar­gyll and Bute HSCP falls pre­ven­tion spe­cial­ists who are able to ad­vise peo­ple where to get sup­port in their own area. The self-re­fer­ral num­ber for falls is 01546 604050.’

‘In my job no two days are ever the same. I sup­port lots of pa­tients with a va­ri­ety of care needs in my role, from peo­ple with in­grown toe­nails to mus­cu­loskele­tal (MSK) prob­lems to pa­tients with long-term con­di­tions such as di­a­betes or rheuma­toid arthri­tis. All pa­tients re­ceive an ini­tial as­sess­ment where their care plan is es­tab­lished. This may in­clude a one-off treat­ment, an on­go­ing care plan for more com­plex cases, re­fer­ral on to an­other spe­cial­ism or re­fer­ral to their GP.’

Linda never tires of the va­ri­ety of con­di­tions and finds her role re­ally re­ward­ing when di­rectly treat­ing pa­tients. She en­joys the chal­lenge of treat­ing and car­ing for high risk pa­tients who have chronic wounds, and shar­ing pa­tients’ care with other health pro­fes­sion­als to help keep peo­ple ac­tive and mo­bile.

As a team, the po­di­a­trists recog­nise the im­por­tance of pro­mot­ing self-care and ac­tively ed­u­cate pa­tients so that they feel con­fi­dent in their foot care at home. In 2017 Ar­gyll and Bute po­di­a­trists worked hand-in-hand with the tech­nol­ogy en­abled care team to de­velop ‘Flo’, a di­a­betic foot care self-man­age­ment text mes­sag­ing dig­i­tal ser­vice which is now be­ing used to help their pa­tients with di­a­betes care for their feet.

‘Flo has been sup­port­ing pa­tients with di­a­betes to self-man­age be­tween rou­tine ap­point­ments, us­ing her friendly text mes­sag­ing per­sona to mo­ti­vate pa­tients to un­der­take daily foot checks and sub­se­quently pro­vid­ing pa­tients with foot care tips, ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion to help them get the ca­pa­bil­ity to iden­tify if, and when, their feet need to be clin­i­cally checked and to en­cour­age best prac­tice in im­prov­ing per­sonal foot care.

Linda con­tin­ued: ‘Flo in­ter­acts with our pa­tients to re­mind them to check their feet for any change or dam­age, along with of­fer­ing reg­u­lar ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion per­ti­nent to their foot care.

‘We recog­nised that most pa­tients use their mo­bile phone reg­u­larly, and so we know that Flo is in their pocket rather than a leaflet that may be looked at once or not at all. It’s also re­as­sur­ing to know that Flo’s text mes­sages are recorded on the pa­tient’s phone en­abling pa­tients to look back on them at any time.

‘The ser­vice is a more mod­ern way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with pa­tients and is re­ally suc­cess­ful. Any­body in­ter­ested in the ser­vice can con­tact the po­di­a­try de­part­ment to check if they meet the cri­te­ria to use the ser­vice on 01631 788977.

‘Noth­ing is more sat­is­fy­ing for me than see­ing pa­tients walk out of a clinic with less pain; feel­ing em­pow­ered to take own­er­ship of their con­di­tions with new ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, ad­vice or a new de­vice. It re­ally does make my job worth­while.’

Peo­ple can self-re­fer to the po­di­a­try ser­vice by pick­ing up a form from the hospi­tal out-pa­tients de­part­ment or their lo­cal GP surgery.

Linda and her fam­ily love liv­ing in Oban. She rel­ishes the scenery and ru­ral life­style. As a fam­ily they en­joy tak­ing part in many lo­cal com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties and she can­not imag­ine a bet­ter place to live and raise her chil­dren.

She also en­joys com­pet­ing in Masters swim­ming events and has a vol­un­teer­ing role with the Oban Ot­ters Swim­ming Club. She also takes part in the lo­cal boot­camp out­door train­ing to keep her fit­ness lev­els in check.

Linda and her chil­dren also en­joy tak­ing part in Oban’s Gana­van sands Parkrun on Satur­day morn­ings.

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