“Positive experience all round” for first patient in chronic wound study

87-year-old Monica from West Norfolk is already benefiting from research she volunteered for earlier this year.

After developing a severe leg ulcer just before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Monica was unfortunately hospitalised for 2 weeks due to sepsis. This was the start of an incredibly difficult time for her.

Monica reflected: “My legs became extremely swollen out of the blue. While I was in hospital, I was told I had 2 leaky heart valves. This came as a total shock to me as I had previously been given the ‘all clear’. 

“After I was referred to a skin frailty clinic, I found out my heart was working at twice the rate of a healthy person’s. It was a year I really wish to forget - the pain from my legs was excruciating and the odour from the discharge was appalling.”

Despite spending a year on antibiotics, there were still very few signs of Monica’s ulcer improving.

Earlier in 2023, while Monica was receiving care from the Community Nursing Team at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, she was invited to join the BISIL study.

The BISIL study is comparing the clinical and cost effectiveness of Biatain® Silicone dressings with other commonly used wound care products for chronic wounds.

Monica said: “The study team explained it all to me and I said yes, I will happily agree to that. I had no fears whatsoever and I was happy to hear that the researchers might have found a new way of treating my leg.”

Monica was the first person to be recruited to this study. After volunteering for just under a month, she already started to notice an improvement in her condition.

Monica added: “The wound is now less than half the size it was before. The study team only visited me once a week during the study - it’s amazing what they were able to do in such a short time.”

Following  her really positive experience, Monica is on the lookout for other opportunities to take part in research. She recognises that research relies on people like her getting involved.

She said: “How are things going to progress if people did not take part in these trials? People need to volunteer for studies to progress research.

“I would willingly do it again. I would encourage everyone to take part in research and would highly recommend the experience."

Research and healthcare is also very close to Monica’s heart, after spending 40 years working as a nurse in the NHS. During a career filled with supporting others, she’s witnessed first-hand how important health research is to improving our lives.

Reflecting on how much has changed during her time working in the NHS and beyond, Monica said: "I am very proud of my career as a nurse, and the advancements in treatments that I saw during the time I worked in the NHS have been extraordinary."

How you can get involved with research

Sign up to Be Part of Research to be contacted about a range of health and care research. Or check out our full list of studies to see if one is right for you.

And if taking part in a study doesn’t feel right at the moment there are other ways to get involved in research.