Report of Conference 2010 – Galway

January 20, 2012

Building the Future of Wound Care

15th Anniversary Conference of Wound Management Association of Ireland.

Dr. Georgina Gethin, Chairperson Scientific Organising Committee and immediate past-president Wound Management Association of Ireland

In October 2011, the WMAI held its 15th anniversary conference in the beautiful but windy city of Galway on the West coast of Ireland.  Despite the challenges faced by many in the current economic climate this conference was the biggest and one of the most successful to date. Over 300 delegates from nine countries attended over the two days.

The theme was, Building the Future of Wound Care, and the key note address on day one, delivered by Prof. Keith Harding, certainly focused minds on what has been achieved to date but also on the challenges ahead. Prof. Harding made particular reference to the importance of the multi-disciplinary team as it is only through such sharing of ideas, knowledge and experience can we really build the future and advance our understanding of wound healing. Further presentations by Prof David Gray discussed the management of complex wounds and the development of remote monitoring of wounds through the process of tele-medicine.

Pain is a major issue in wound healing, whether it is the acute traumatic wound or the chronic leg ulcer. Dr. Brian McGuire of NUI Galway discussed the physiology of pain and mechanisms which clinicians can use to assess pain and indeed help the patient to cope with pain.

Conferences such as the WMAI actively promote the engagement of the novice practitioner and this conference encouraged the participation of a range of disciplines across a range of workshops. Delegates attended workshops on wound assessment, documentation, repositioning, gait assessment, assessment of the diabetic foot, vascular assessment, debridement, bandaging and compression. These were delivered by a range of experts in the field including; Sinead Murphy, Marion Cahill-Collins, David Watterson, Kate Arkley, Mary Burke, Zena Moore, Julie Jordan-O’Brien, Adelene Greene and Caroline McIntosh. The only criticism of the workshops was that there was not enough time and delegates have requested more workshops in the future.

An interesting feature of the WMAI conference is the panel discussion. This year the topic was: Technology versus dressings in wound management – is there a difference in outcomes? The session was chaired by Dr. Georgina Gethin and panel members included Mr. Henry James, Dr. Zena Moore, Prof. Raj Mani and Ms. Susan Mendez-Eastman. While the role of technology in wound management was discussed, the panel and delegates reiterated the need for appropriate assessment of the patient and their wound and emphasised that in the absence of a comprehensive assessment appropriate management cannot advance.

On day two, the conference held the first of the concurrent sessions. Palliative wound care was presented by two experts in the area including Dr. Patricia Grocott and Dr. Sebastian Probst. The concept of the ‘unbounded body’ and the need to develop dressings to fit the complex needs of patients with palliative wounds were well articulated by both presenters. There is a need to build a core body of knowledge in palliative wound care which can support the individual and the clinician. Four presenters discussed the current advancements in wound diagnostics and the micro environment of the wound. These included Prof. Sean Tierney, Prof. Raj Mani, Prof. Robert Strohal and Dr. Georgina Gethin. Delegates heard presentations on the WAR assessment tool for assessment of wound infection risk and the role of pH in wound bed assessment. Later that morning Dr. Breda Cullen introduced the concept of using modern technology in wound diagnostics and spoke about the role of protease in wound healing and tissue repair.

Prof. Finn Gottrup provided the keynote address for day two. Prof Gottrup discussed the challenges in evidence and outcomes in wound healing and the challenges faced in designing randomised controlled trials in patients with chronic wounds. This session provided the platform for some interesting audience participation in the debate on wound healing outcomes and reinforced the need for further dialogue on this topic.

Economics would seem to be to the forefront of all our conversations related to resources at this time. Prof. Charles Normand provided some means through which one can consider economics and wound care and provided some valuable tools and resources which clinicians can use in making the case for additional resources. Ms. Susan Mendez-Eastman gave a comprehensive overview of the effect of topical negative therapy on wound tissues and healing outcomes. Dr. Caroline Dowsett explored the evidence in support of topical negative therapy currently and in the future of wound healing.

In a very interesting session, Ms. Dympna Pearson gave delegates a thought provoking presentation on health behavioural change with particular reference to nutrition and wound healing.

The final presentation of the conference by Dr. Marlese Dempsey was to remind is all of how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have access to health care and modern therapies. Dr. Dempsey recounted her role and that of her colleagues in the aftermath of the Haiti disaster in 2011.

During the conference four free papers were presented:

Mr. Wael Tawfick and Mr. Sherif Sultan; Technical and Clinical Outcomes of Topical Wound Oxygen in comparison to conventional compression dressing in the management of refractory non-healing venous ulcers.

Derk F. Frye and Liam Farrell; The use of human fibroblast derived dermal substitute with topical oxygen in vascular compromised wounds

Paul Breen, Dr. C. McIntosh, Prof. J. Serrador, C. O’Tuathail, Dr. S. Dinneen, Prof. G. Ó Laighin: Sensory neuromodulation; a new paradigm to restore peripheral sensitivity

Bryony Treston, Dr. G. Gethin, Prof. S. Tierney, M. Prendergast, H. Strapp, and Prof. S. Cowman: Prevalence of lower limb lymphoedema and quality of life among persons with diabetic foot disease

Two prize winners were announced:

Lilian Bradley memorial prize:

Madden, J. & Cundell, J. Can podiatrists identify the level of heel pressure damage as defined by the EPUAP classification, to ensure inter-rater reliability in assessing heel pressure damage?

WMAI prize:

Hamada, N., Soylu, E., Fahy, A., Tawfick, W. and Sultan , S. The results of the sequential compression biomechanical device in patients with critical limb ischemia and non-reconstructable peripheral vascular disease.

The association is most grateful to the massive industry support for this conference. Twenty seven companies met with delegates over the two days and the Journal of Wound Care supported the organisation through the development of a conference book.

We would like to thank the work and commitment of the conference organising committee and the national executive of the association. The next conference will be held in Cork in 2013 and we look forward to building on the work of 2011 and a bigger and better conference. We would also like to thank the many speakers who gave of their time to present but also the many hours which went into developing their presentations. Finally, we want to thank the many delegates who attended and hope that this conference goes in some way towards Building the Future of Wound Care.

Organising committee:

  • Georgina Gethin,
  • Adelene Greene,
  • Caroline McIntosh,
  • Kate Arkley,
  • Marie Mellett,
  • Marion Cahill Collins


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