Psychologist’s pioneering service for people with diabetic foot problems on the agenda at foot conference

One of the first psychologists to work within a multidisciplinary diabetic foot clinic and support those facing amputation is one of the expert speakers at the EDFN’s upcoming national conference.

Delegates at the online conference on Friday, April 29 will hear from Kate Bewsey, a chartered counselling psychologist who has been working within the diabetic foot team at St George’s Hospital in London for three years.

Kate established a psychology provision from scratch, setting up a diabetic distress screening programme to support those with complex mental and physical health issues.

Along with providing support and treatment for in-patients and out-patients, Kate also advises the team through training and consultation.

Kate, who has more than 20 years’ experience working as a counselling psychologist for people with long term health conditions, says that the podiatry clinic is now “a more psychologically informed service” and that those accessing the clinic benefit from a holistic model of care. As well as treating people with diabetes distress, anxiety and low mood, Kate also helps to mentally prepare those who require an amputation.

She said: “My role is to see the whole picture and focus on a person’s individual context. By asking about wellbeing, they feel listened to, which can help enhance engagement in care and identify potential barriers to treatment adherence, of which there can be many.

“It’s about getting a conversation on the table between the person being treated and the person treating them – I work very much as part of the MDT. My role is to embed psychology within the team so they can also identify things like diabetes distress.”

Kate introduced diabetes distress screening procedures into the diabetic foot clinic as part of her role as a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion.

She is now one of a handful of psychologists working within diabetic foot teams, something she would like to see rolled out across the country. She will discuss her work at the EDFN national conference on Friday, April 29, saying: “I’m looking forward to participating in the conference and raising awareness of the value of incorporating psychology within podiatry teams.”

The national conference is part of the Network’s drive to improve standards of diabetes footcare across England by sharing best practice and latest research. It is a free event open to anyone working in the field of diabetic foot and lower limb, and will feature keynote speakers, case studies, panel discussions, and presentations across the whole spectrum of diabetic foot healthcare.

The EDFN was set up, with support from the Royal College of Podiatry, to share best practice and improve consistency of care across the country.

Book your place on the EDFN National Conference here.

View the agenda here.

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