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Healthcare Trends

When Smith & Nephew was founded just over 150 years ago the average life expectancy in the developed world was just 38. Today it’s almost 80!

That’s good news. But it brings challenges. One of them is keeping people healthy throughout their long lives. Another is that governments and payers don’t have unlimited resources.

Healthcare Trends


In a typical hospital setting today between 25% and 40% of beds will be occupied by patients with wounds. In the community, management of wounds takes up over half of all resources.1

In Europe, diabetes already affects 20.2 million people; a figure predicted to rise by 37% over the next two decades.2  Diabetes has a surprisingly high association with wounds.

Surgical interventions, which do so much to improve patients’ lives, of course produce wounds, with an average of 4% becoming infected.1

The challenge is exacerbated by the relatively low levels of specific wound training in many healthcare settings.  The result is a debilitating personal cost to the patient, and a draining economic cost to the system.



1 Posnett J, Gottrup F, Lundgren H, Saal G.  The resource impact of wounds on healthcare providers in Europe.  Journal of Wound Care, 2009; 18(4):154-161

2 Wild, S., Roglic, G., Green, A. et al.  Global prevalence of diabetes: estimates for the year 2000 and projections for 2030.  diabetes Care 2004; 27: 1047-1053.

3 Bales I, 2009.  Reaching for the moon: achieving zero pressure ulcer prevalence.  J Wound Care. 2009 Apr; 18(4):137-144

4 Reiber, G.E., Boyko, E.J., Smith, D.G.  Lower extremity foot ulcers and amputations in diabetes.  In: National Diabetes Data Group, National Institutes of Health.  Diabetes in America (2nd edn).  Us Government Printing Office (NIH pub. No. 95-1468), 1995.

5 Drew P, Posnett J, Rusling L, on behalf of the Wound Care Audit Team.  The cost of wound care for a local population in England.  Int Wound J 2007:4:149-155.

Global Wound Academy

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