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The aim of this initiative is to prepare and mobilize certified foot and nail care nurses to lead research, education and facilitate
intervention in an effort to reduce the number of injuries of the lower extremity that lead to amputation/s, morbidity and mortality.
Approximately 45-60% of foot ulcers are related to Loss Of Protective Sensation (LOPS) with another 45% having combined LOPS
and Lower Extremity Arterial Disease (LEAD) of people with diabetes. Approximately 50-80% of all non-traumatic amputations are
diabetes-related complications. The presence of a foot wound is the number one reason for readmission into the hospital for people
Board certified foot care nurses are specialized in hygiene, assessment, intervention to include skin & nail care, education,
and referral. The newly-enacted Medicare programs focus on preventative care and encourage certified foot and nail care nurses’
opportunity to assume a key role in reducing the cost impact of care for people with diabetes, arthritis and Lower Extremity Arterial
Disease (LEAD). A focus on foot care leads to an increase in referrals for therapeutic shoes, use of over-the-counter compression
socks and access to care for the older population having difficulty with mobility, sight, and/or cognitive ability.
Focusing on the feet allows for a comprehensive foot exam annually to establish risk and a determination of frequency thereafter.
On-going education is also preventative. Foot care nurses provide care on a structured schedule and have opportunities to be
proactive in prevention with interventions, observations, education and referrals. The importance of repeated and on-going education
of patients with potential complications and to remind them to inspect their feet daily ensures that at the first sign of an injury (no
matter how minor) it is reported before the injury becomes serious and expensive.
Michele Burdette-Taylor has completed her PhD at the University of San Diego in California. She is an assistant professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in community health, foot care and wound care for the college of health, school of nursing and physician assistant program. She has published numerous skin, wound, pressure ulcer and foot care articles. Her most recent publication was a chapter for the new Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Core Curriculum for Wound Care for entitled Foot and Nail Care.