Brochure describes steps on the way towards professional wound care 

Easily understandable and comprehensive health information on the treatment of non-healing wounds is a void in Austria. There is a great need for guidance so that patients and relatives can navigate the currently fragmented system of care for non-healing wounds. We came to this conclusion in course of our design process, which we approached with an open mind.

Everyone has a right to professional medical care. However, the way to get there is often hard to find for patients and their relatives. They do not take enough notice of the important, coordinating role of the general practitioner in this process. GPs can record the patient’s general health situation and, through referral, ensure that the causes of the wound are clarified. Wound care is a multidisciplinary coordination task in which the GP can keep an overview and accompany the patient. A bound brochure, developed with affected people and medical experts, provides guidance and encourages people with non-healing wounds to seek help in primary care.  

As a research group, we started the development process with the question: What can we do to help people reduce the time between the realization that a wound is not going to heal and them getting a proper diagnosis of the wound cause? A lack of information and unclear responsibilities in the healthcare system often leads to patients receiving no or unspecific care for far too long while their wound worsens. In the open design process, together with relevant actors within the wound and health ecosystem, we identified easy-to-understand and targeted health information as a suitable means of counteracting this situation. We moderated two focus groups and two rounds of discussions with patients and relatives and organized three workshops with medical experts. In increasingly concrete evaluation and design steps, the brochure gradually emerged as our communication medium of choice, as well as its contents, colors and form. 

The finished brochure encourages patients and relatives to play an active role. Through a better understanding of their illness, they are empowered and encouraged to actively engage with their treatment, to document it and to approach their practitioners with questions.  

We will test the first version of our brochure at selected multipliers in 2024. The brochure will initially be available in German and is designed for the Austrian context. The information is valid across federal state borders. The language is easy to understand. 

a. Based on the information provided by affected people, we developed a figure that guides you through the brochure. This figure is also intended to convey that patients are not to blame for their wound.