Cellulitis Prevention: Healthy Legs Program (HeLP)

One of Sydney Health Partners’ aims is to demonstrate that new, evidence-based, interventions can be successfully implemented and scaled-up in large and diverse health systems.  This is a key driver of HeLP – the Partnership’s flagship research collaboration.

The Problem

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection characterised by reddened, swollen and painful skin, and, if left untreated, can make patients sick enough to require hospitalisation. NSW Health data shows that in 2018, more than 23,000 patients were admitted to New South Wales hospitals with cellulitis, making it the largest cause of preventable hospital admissions in the State.

Despite this, until now there has been no common approach to prevention of cellulitis re-occurrence amongst the different medical specialties.

The Intervention

In a novel collaboration, HeLP proposes to test a new Allied Health-led model of care, focussing on cellulitis of the lower limbs (legs, feet and toes). The goal is to find ways to prevent hospital re-admissions due to cellulitis - and reduce the cost and morbidity associated with it.

The program is developing a secondary prevention strategy for recurrent cellulitis, which targets the major risk factors including obesity, diabetes, poor foot care and lymphoedema.

HeLP brings together a multidisciplinary team of Allied Health professionals including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dietitians, podiatrists, social workers and pharmacists, and insights from nursing and medical teams. They are working closely with clinicians, data analysts, administrators and consumers from across our four local health districts and the University of Sydney.

Project Goals

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of a new Allied Health-led model of care
  2. Measure changes in patient (and family member) reported health experiences and outcomes
  3. Assess whether it can be scaled-up across health services and the health system
  4. Evaluate whether the proposed Model of Care is cost-effective from the health system perspective (compared to standard care)

Cross-Platform Collaboration

In addition to Platform 1, two more of Sydney Health Partners’ platforms for research translation and implementation are contributing to the Healthy Legs Program:

  • Platform 2: Meeting Community Needs - involving health consumers and the community in development of the model, and assessment of its outcomes
  • Platform 5: Data-driven Healthcare – using digital health and informatics research to optimise the model of care and care delivery

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