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New Collaboration for Wound Care Innovation

Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Centre for Asian Nursing Studies (CANS) and the Skin Research Institute of Singapore (SRIS) from A*STAR partner through the Wound Care Innovation for the Tropics (WCIT) programme to lead further collaboration between the public healthcare, research and education partners.

A memorandum of understanding was established in April 2021 between CANS from Tan Tock Seng Hospital and SRIS from A*STAR to enable more avenues for research and collaboration to drive innovation and training for chronic wound care in Singapore. This partnership looks to create more opportunities for training and innovation, it is also to boost training for nurses in the community and polyclinics in chronic wound management.

To become a specialist wound care nurse, needs a minimum of 5 years working experience in the ward settings followed by on-the-job training from the wound care nurses. With further training and innovation through this partnership, it creates opportunity for general nurses and nurses not from wound care speciality to be trained to manage chronic wounds.

This partnership will also better the understanding of pressing needs in chronic wound care. Facilitating care that follows an elderly patient form an acute hospital care setting to a community or home setting, and improve the quality of life for patients with chronic wounds. This will be further supported by a robust access to network of care partners in the community; such as nursing homes, and other agencies that coordinate care for patients with chronic wounds.

Training opportunities will also open up for local nurses through the Initiative Chronische Wunden (ICW) programme, a German programme, accredited by the European Wound Management Alliance (EWMA).

It is also hoped that through this partnership there would be innovation for products to aid wound healing. For example, disposable Pressure Sensor for Compression Therapy in Venous Leg Ulcers. A disposable pressure sensor made of thin multilayer film consisting of an array of micron-sized chambers (imagine a microscopic “bubble wrap”), each filled with a dye solution. Upon compression, the micro-chambers will rupture and release a dye to provide an indication that sufficient pressure is achieved.

This “micro-bubble wrap” is developed locally (by SRIS and A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), as well as TTSH) for purpose of wound care and training tool for nurses, to ensure that the right pressure is delivered in the compressing bandages to treat venous leg ulcer.

This innovation serves to guide nurses on the level of pressure delivered upon application and improves the effectiveness of compression therapy by eliminating the uncertainty of the required pressure during application. It could also potentially reduce the burden of specialist nurses caring for patients with chronic wounds, as this Pressure Sensor Tool can help to widen the pool of nurses with the required skills to handle chronic wounds. At present, and also as reflected in the research paper, most of the follow-up care for VLUs takes place at the specialist outpatient and primary care setting. [APBN]