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Jennifer Madden


Jennifer Madden, Clinical Champion

2022 - 2023 Clinical Champions Community: Leading Diabetes Care Innovation

Assistant Podiatry Manager responsible for a Foot Protection Team, Belfast HSC Trust 



Hello, I am Jennifer Madden, a podiatrist with 25 years’ experience, working 15 years in the Hospital setting before moving back to community and the foot protection team. Within foot protection I was appointed as the principal podiatrist with responsibility for diabetes and high risk in May 2019. This role was developed to ensure that the new diabetes foot pathway for Northern Ireland, launched in November 2019, had support for its implementation within the foot protection team in Belfast. My role also included development of the team with regards to diabetes and foot disease. More recently I have been appointed as the assistant podiatry manager, with responsibility for the foot protection team/community podiatry team in Belfast. I have a passion for empowering patients to be able to manage their diabetes themselves (in particular foot health) and knowing when they should contact healthcare professionals. 

What gifts, strengths, or unique experiences do you intend to bring to your development work? 

I have, I suspect like a lot of people, developed more resilience over the last few years due to the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. Learning that not all problems are mine to solve, but sometimes taking a moment, calmly thinking about it and version of a solution can be found. It may not be perfect, but it will work. I have over the last 3 years learned how to encourage other people to be involved in change and leadership. Nothing can be completed by one individual alone, you may have a vision, but you need to bring people along, encourage them to grow; and in my role with the people I work with, and now manage, is to coach them to be the best, no matter their skill levels they can grow. This brings change and allows those in your team to have ideas that you may never have thought about as a solution. The impact on patient care when this is allowed to flourish can be immense. Also, failure is not the end, sometimes it forces you to find a better solution or be more resilient for the next project. I do see that we need to be less paternalistic with people living with diabetes, our department and individually I need to be better at including them in the co-production of services. 

What area of change are you currently passionate about in diabetes care?

Within foot protection, my vision is that patients living with diabetes should be empowered about looking after their own feet by knowing their risks and how to seek help in a foot emergency. How we engage and the methods we use to engage needs a reviewed.  

My role is to strengthen the further roll out the diabetes foot pathway for patients living with diabetes within foot protection. This was stalled by covid, and we need to be reengaging with GPs and people living with diabetes on how we can do this.  

The use of digital platforms to provide education and information rather than just leaflet may help. The aim is to develop a podiatry website with an engaging page on diabetes foot health. Patients are sometimes overwhelmed at a diagnosis of diabetes, by providing a website with engaging videos on foot health issues and describing common foot issues prior to any podiatry visit may help engagement. People living with diabetes must be involved in any delivery change. They must be included in the development of the website so that their views are properly represented. Our message must be delivered effectively without alienating them but empowering them. Patients arrive at podiatry sometimes not understanding why they are there, understanding that podiatry input depends on their individual foot risk, and a personal foot care plan is important. 

What most excites you about this journey? 

Learning about myself, challenging my communication skills, and getting better at talking about the successes. I will also have the opportunity to bring members of my team on the journey, grow them as leaders and allow them to further understand QI and the impact it can have. Improving the communication with patient living with diabetes can only improve services provided.


2017 - 2019 Clinical Champions

Advanced Podiatrist in Elderly Care, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Jennifer Madden has 21 years' NHS experience specialising in the management of elderly patients, acting as an advocate and member of the multidisciplinary diabetes team to ensure patients with diabetes who are admitted to hospital are seen in a timely manner by the right healthcare professional.

Jennifer completed an MSc in Advancing Practice (Podiatry) at Ulster University in 2011. Her thesis investigated pressure injury of the heel and she has presented her findings at several major conferences.

Currently, within the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Jennifer has a key role in heel pressure ulceration management. She has a comprehensive understanding of the limb threatening consequences of heel pressure ulceration and its impact on the individual’s ability to rehabilitate. Jennifer collaborates with Tissue Viability nursing colleagues and has led on the development of the foot protection section of the pressure ulcer e-learning programme for the Trust.

As a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion, Jennifer will complete a quality improvement project. This pilot project will use the already established CARE foot check pathway developed by Cardiff and Vale UHT, which has been further developed onto a Mirror Card, by Guys and St Thomas Hospital/Kings Health Partnership. It will promote and standardise foot checks for heel pressure in diabetes patients admitted to hospital within the first 24 hours. The aim is to provide a standardised foot check pathway that will be measurable, provide preventive strategies and will demonstrate an improvement in care.

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