MEDIA RELEASE: Wound Awareness Week 2023 begins next week
Friday, 1 September 2023

Peak body calls for Australia to get wound care RIGHT! 

Wound Awareness Week 2023 is 4–10 September

For immediate release: 3pm AEST, Friday 1 September 2023 | Melbourne, Australia

With more than 450,000 Australians living with hard-to-heal wounds each year – at a cost to health and aged care budgets of $6.6 billion – it’s more important than ever to get wound care right, according to national peak health body Wounds Australia, founders and organisers of the annual Wound Awareness Week.

Wound Awareness Week Ambassador Professor Fiona Wood AM said getting wound care right meant receiving the right diagnosis and the right treatment at the right time.
“There are too many points in the wound care journey where things can go wrong,” Professor Wood said. “We need to focus on evidence-based education and training to demonstrate what good wound care looks like so we can reduce the number of Australians suffering unnecessarily.”

Care choices impact lives

Perth resident Danielle Bewley’s experience illustrates the consequences of not recognising individual wound care needs. Ms Bewley’s leg burns resulting from a burst hot water bottle were treated in a hospital emergency department then dressed by her GP not recognising the severity of the injury. Ms Bewley’s wound blistered and worsened, requiring specialised care at Perth’s Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Burns Unit to achieve timely healing.

Wounds Australia Board Chair and expert wound care nurse consultant Hayley Ryan said wounds like Ms Bewley’s can be healed with the right care.

“We know that seeking medical advice in a timely manner and receiving the right diagnosis and treatment will heal many wounds,” Ms Ryan said. “But the evidence tells us that people leave it too long or look to the wrong sources of information or they’re treated incorrectly when they do ask for help.”

“Often this is no fault of the incredibly hardworking health professionals who are stretched to the limit in both the acute and primary settings,” Ms Ryan continued. “Instead, this is about ensuring these care professionals have access to the most up to date, evidence-based training, education and information about diagnosing and managing wound care in the right way.”

Education is key to improved wound care

Wound Australia CEO Helen Jentz said the Wound Awareness Week 2023 campaign targeted two important groups: consumers and medical professionals.

“Consumers must be able to recognise the wound warning signs in order to know when to ask for help, and where to go for appropriate advice,” Ms Jentz said. “Our social media campaign presented by Wound Awareness Week Champion and comedian/campaigner Nelly Thomas shares this information in an accessible and entertaining way.

“And a free daily webinar series will educate medical professionals on wound care best practice, from drawing on the resources of a multidisciplinary care team to caring for an ageing population.”

Wound Consumables Scheme “an important development”

Ms Jentz said the Federal Government’s Budget announcement in May of a funded national Wound Consumables Scheme was “an important development” that would include much-needed specialised wound care education and training for medical professionals. 

“After working closely with the Federal Government during its enquiry phase, Wounds Australia looks forward to helping make the Scheme a reality and bringing about positive change for so many Australians living with wounds,” Ms Jentz said.

Notes for Editors:

Wound Awareness Week:
  • Increasing numbers of people are living with hard-to-heal wounds
  • The cost to budgets has blown out to $6.6 billion a year
  • Much of this suffering and expense is avoidable because many wounds can be healed with appropriate care
  • Wound Awareness Week (4-10 September) asks Australia to get wound care RIGHT through awareness, education and conversation. More:
  • An initiative of Wounds Australia, the national peak health body:
Available for interview:
  • Professor Fiona Wood AM (Perth): Wound Awareness Week Ambassador, former Australian of the Year (2005), plastic and reconstructive surgeon/burns specialist, head of the Fiona Wood Foundation; and leader of the Burns Service of Western Australia.
  • Hayley Ryan (NSW): Wounds Australia Board Chair; experienced wound care Clinical Nurse Consultant; Principal at Wound Rescue.
  • Helen Jentz (Vic): Wounds Australia CEO.
Wound Champions (consumers living with wounds, and their carers):
  • Jenna Allen (Vic): 29-year-old mother of two whose redback spider bite triggered a near decade-long battle with a chronic wound. Read Jenna’s story.
  • Danielle Bewley (WA): 34-year-old mother of two whose leg burns worsened due to incorrect care. Read Danielle’s story.
  • Mia-Rose Etita (NSW): 6-year-old whose life is seriously negatively affected by chronic wounds resulting from a rare form of lymphedema. Read Mia-Rose’s story.
  • Bella Fitzgibbon (Vic): professional cricketer Isabella cared for her grandmother during her final days, including treating persistent and serious wounds. Read Bella’s story.
  • Debe Thomas (NSW): Debe cared for her husband Ron during his battle with dementia and was frustrated by the care he received in the health system. Read Debe and Ron’s story.
  • More than 420,000 Australians living with hard-to-heal wounds (derived from source and indexed to produce estimated 2023 figures): Pacella RE et al., 2018. Solutions to chronic wounds problem in Australia: a call to action. Wound Practice and Research, Volume 26 Number 2. 84-98
  • Chronic wounds cost the Australian health care system $6.6 billion a year (derived from source and indexed to produce estimated 2023 figures): Graves N, Zheng H. Modelling the direct health care costs of chronic wounds in Australia. Wound Practice and Research 2014;22(1): 20–4, 6–33.
Our valued partners:
Wounds Australia would like to thank these generous Wound Awareness Week Partners:  MEDIA CONTACT: Emma Noble, Wounds Australia Communications Director | | 0432 899139