Providing yet another means to increase public access to health care services, the Fort Frances Family Health Team (FHT) started offering an advanced foot care program in recent months.
The need for the program is evident given RPN Amanda Meeks-Nardari, who obtained her certification in advanced diabetic foot care in November, has been busy nearly every day of the week seeing patients at the Fort Frances Community Clinic.
“I see a lot of people that have diabetes, and individuals that have diabetes should have a yearly foot inspection just to make sure that there’s no problems or anything is going on,” Meeks-Nardari said.
“Plus, individuals that just can’t bend over and cut their own toenails, a lot of elderly patients, patients that have problems with calluses, corns, with in-grown toenails,” she added.
“[Foot care] is very important, especially with individuals with diabetes,” Meeks-Nardari stressed.
“Individuals with diabetes have a lot of problems that can develop, starting in their feet,” she warned.
Other foot care programs are offered by other health agencies locally, but the Fort Frances FHT came forward to provide the service to reach a broader public.
“The whole program arose because while our diabetes program does a full lower leg assessment, we also found that people were really in need of foot care,” said Patti-Jo LeDrew, chronic disease management co-ordinator at the FHT.
“There are people in the community that provide the service that are very good, but there’s a fee charged and a lot of individuals can’t afford the fee,” she noted.
“Shelby Peterson does work out at the Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Authority and she’s been very busy, but she can’t seen non-status individuals,” LeDrew added.
“So we’ve had a large amount of people request this service.
“And as a result, we’ve been able to prevent a lot of diabetic-related wounds, educate on proper diabetic foot care, make referrals over to the Valley Diabetes Education Centre and Fort Frances Tribal Area Health Authority for proper blood sugar monitoring,” LeDrew continued.
“And also we’ve worked with physicians to provide vascular referrals for people.”
Foot care patients can be self-referred, or referred by nurse practitioners, Valley Diabetes educators, or physicians to have their feet monitored and cared for.
Those who need foot care can make an appointment with Meeks-Nardari by contacting the Fort Frances Family Health Team at 274-7741.
While frequency of foot care appointments would depend on a case by case basis, Meeks-Nardari said she can see patients roughly every two months if they need nail trimming or filing down.
“The visits are quite lengthy,” she noted.
“I usually book at least an hour for most patients, especially for an initial visit if they’re diabetic, because I am going through a whole assessment,” she explained.