Measuring costs and quality of life for venous leg ulcers

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Journal Article
International Wound Journal, 2019, 16 (1), pp. 112 - 121
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© 2018 Inc and John Wiley & Sons Ltd Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) result in substantial economic costs and reduced quality of life (QoL); however, there are few Australian cost estimates, especially using patient-level data. We measured community-setting VLU management costs and the impact on the QoL of affected individuals. VLU patients were recruited from a specialist wound clinic, an outpatient clinic, and two community care clinics in Queensland. Cost data were collected at the baseline visit. QoL (EQ-5D-5L) and wound status data were collected at baseline, 1, 3, and 6 months. Patients were classified into guideline-based/optimal care and usual care groups. Average weekly costs per patient were statistically significantly different between the usual care and optimal care groups—$214.61 and $294.72, respectively (P = 0.04). Baseline average QoL score for an unhealed ulcer was significantly higher in the optimal care group compared with usual care (P = 0.025). Time to healing differed between the usual care group and the optimal care group (P = 0.04), with averages of 3.9 and 2.7 months, respectively. These findings increase the understanding of the costs, QoL, and healing outcomes of VLU care. Higher optimal care costs may be offset by faster time to healing. This study provides data to inform an economic evaluation of guideline-based care for VLUs.
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