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Quality of life in adults with recurrent diabetic foot ulcers

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Milquette, Stacy C.
Udlis, Kim
MS, Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
Apr 2011
Diabetes - Complications; Foot - Diseases; Foot - Ulcers
Persons with diabetes have been found to have a lower quality of life (QOL) than the general non-diabetic population. Those that suffer from diabetic foot ulcers (DFU) have an even lower reported QOL. Previous studies have suggested that increased DFU severity results in lower QOL and that lower QOL may adversely impact the healing of recurrent DFUs. The majority of the current studies exploring QOL in persons with DFUs have used generic QOL assessment tools rather than disease specific scales and few have specifically explored persons with recurrent DFUs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the QOL of patients with recurrent DFUs and explore the relationships between QOL and DFU severity. The theoretical framework guiding this study was the Roy Adaptation Model. A cross-sectional descriptive study of adults with recurrent DFU was used. QOL was measured by both the ulcer-specific Diabetic Foot Ulcer Scale Short Form (DFS-SF) questionnaire and the Short-Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire. DFU severity was quantified using the Wagner ulcer classification scale. Sixteen participants were recruited from a Northeastern Wisconsin wound center. Participants were at least 18 years old, had type I or II diabetes, and had a diagnosis of DFU that is recurrent. Patient-reported QOL was lower than the general population in both the SF-36 and DFS-SF. Spearman's r coefficient was used to explore potential relationships between QOL and DFU severity, however no significant correlations were found. Unfortunately, due to the small sample size, this study did not have sufficient power to determine statistical significance. Future research however is needed in the population of persons with recurrent DFUs to further understand how DFU severity may be related to QOL.
A Clinical Paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner
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