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01-12-2013 | Research | Uitgave 1/2013 Open Access

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 1/2013

Reducing length of stay for acute diabetic foot episodes: employing an extended scope of practice podiatric high-risk foot coordinator in an acute foundation trust hospital

Journal of Foot and Ankle Research > Uitgave 1/2013
Matthew J Cichero, Virginia M Bower, Tom P Walsh, Ben J Yates
Belangrijke opmerkingen

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.



To enhance the acute management of people with diabetic foot disease requiring admission, an extended scope of practice, podiatric high-risk foot coordinator position, was established at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon in 2010. The focus of this new role was to facilitate more efficient and timely management of people with complex diabetic foot disease. The aim of this project was to investigate the impact of the podiatric high-risk foot coordinator role on length of stay, rate of re-admission and bed cost.


This study evaluated the difference in length of stay and rate of re-admission between an 11- month pre-pilot period (November 2008 to October 2009) and a 10-month pilot period (August 2010 to June 2011). The estimated difference in bed cost between the pre-pilot and pilot audits was also calculated. Inclusion criteria were restricted to inpatients admitted with a diabetic foot ulcer, gangrene, cellulitis or infection as the primary cause for admission. Eligible records were retrieved using ICD-10 (V9) coding via the hospital clinical audit department for the pre-pilot period and a unique database was used to source records for the pilot phase.


Following the introduction of the podiatric high-risk foot coordinator, the average length of stay reduced from 33.7 days to 23.3 days (mean difference 10.4 days, 95% CI 0.0 to 20.8, p = 0.050). There was no statistically significant difference in re-admission rate between the two study periods, 17.2% (95% CI 12.2% to 23.9%) in the pre-pilot phase and 15.4% (95% CI 12.0% to 19.5%) in the pilot phase (p = 0.820). The extrapolated annual cost saving following the implementation of the new coordinator role was calculated to be £234,000 for the 2010/2011 year.


This audit found that the extended scope of practice coordinator role may have a positive impact on reducing length of stay for diabetic foot admissions. This paper advocates the role of a podiatric high-risk foot coordinator utilising an extended scope of practice model, although further research is needed.

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