At any given time almost six million people in the United States are coping with a chronic wound of some type. It can be very frustrating and time consuming to heal these wounds. That is the reason Wilson Medical Center opened the Center for Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine almost 10 years ago.
There are many different types of wounds and even more treatment options. Our professional staff utilizes the most up-to-date approaches to wound healing and remain current in new scientific advances in wound care.
We are a comprehensive wound care center. That means we assess the whole patient not just the wound. Often wounds do not heal because of other underlying health problems. Your first visit will generally last around two hours. After you complete the necessary check-in information you will be guided to a private examination room. Admission vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse, and weight) will be completed. A complete nursing history will then be taken. Did you know that many medications interfere with wound healing? Some medications can actually cause wounds. Decreased levels of some vitamins and minerals will also delay healing. Nutrition plays a vital role in wound healing so we always complete a nutritional assessment. Adjustments to diet and medications can be made when needed. Our program is designed to work with your primary physician's care so we will work closely with them to assure any needed changes do not interfere with other care you may be receiving. The need for appropriate pain management is also assessed.
We are very fortunate to have five physicians with advanced wound care education and experience. However, this is a team-oriented program. That means we collaborate closely with each other. You will be assigned to one of our physicians but will also gain by everyone's collective knowledge and input. This includes not only the physicians but two certified wound specialists and other advanced practice nursing staff.
Your assigned physician will also complete a history and physical exam. We will then focus on your wound and why it has not healed. Chronic health conditions such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, low thyroid conditions and others often complicate healing. If your wound is in area that gets constant pressure when sitting, lying or walking it may be necessary to relieve pressure to the area with special adaptive devices.
The days of "leaving a wound open to air so it can breathe" or simply covering it with a gauze dressing or band-aid are long gone. Wound dressings are now designed to interact with the wound. Wounds that are covered with the appropriate dressing heal 2.5 times faster than wounds that are allowed to dry out. There are currently over 2000 wound care dressing products on the market. We have the luxury and access to most of them so we can determine which dressing would give your wound the best chance of healing. Does the wound need more or less moisture? Do we need to decrease the amount of bacteria or non-healing tissue within the wound? Do we need a dressing that will also protect the surrounding skin? Do we need to utilize advanced treatment options such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy or bio-engineered tissue grafts? Is surgery going to be necessary? All of these options are considered at every visit.
The majority of our patients are seen weekly until the wound is healed. Depending upon the treatment program, however, some patients may need to be seen two, three, or even five times a week. We will also arrange home health visits when appropriate for those patients who need frequent dressing changes but not necessarily wound specialty assessments.
You are the most important part of your wound healing process. Keeping appointments and following instructions will give your wound the best opportunity to heal. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please don't hesitate to call us at 620-325-8393 or 1-888-603-1333.
By: Diana Cunningham, RN, C.W.S., F.C.C.W.S., and Program Director