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Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine
A specialized wound treatment center
For many people, a wound is a simple matter. The natural healing process takes care of a cut, a sore, a spider bite or other injury to the skin and underlying tissue.
For others, a wound can lead to a medical crisis or to a chronic condition that may mean multiple stays in a hospital or potential amputation.
If you have a wound that has not improved with conventional treatment within 30 days, you have a chronic wound, and you should consider referral to a specialized wound care treatment center. Although most of our patients are referred by their physicians, you can access our healing services without a physician referral.
At Good Samaritan Hospital’s Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, we specialize in treatment for non-healing wounds. Regardless of the cause, which may be because of poor circulation, badly functioning veins, nutritional status or immobility, non-healing wounds interfere with the quality of your life. They can be painful, subject you to additional infections, be disfiguring or place your overall health at risk.
Our Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Mission Oaks can help. The dedicated Center team can often successfully treat wounds that have resisted healing for months and even years of traditional care.
The Center uses an interdisciplinary model of care, including infectious-disease management, physical therapy, occupational therapy, laboratory evaluation, nutritional management, pain management, diabetic education, radiology testing and debridement to address total patient health. With the latest treatments and technology available including debridement, dressing selection, special shoes and patient education, people with non-healing and chronic wounds now have a place to turn. Your individual treatment plan may include hyperbaric oxygen therapy that has been proven effective in fighting infection and building new blood vessels, ultimately producing healthy tissue.
Chronic wounds: a growing problem
Non-healing wounds of the foot are considered one of the most significant complications of diabetes, representing a major worldwide medical, social, and economic burden that greatly affects patient quality of life. Almost 24 million Americans—one in every 12—are diabetic and the disease is causing widespread disability and death at an epidemic pace, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those with diabetes, 6.5 million are estimated to suffer with chronic or non-healing wounds. Associated with inadequate circulation, poorly functioning veins and immobility, non-healing wounds occur most frequently in the elderly and in people with diabetes—populations that are sharply rising as the nation ages and chronic diseases increase. At the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, we follow treatment protocols specifically established for each type of wound. We utilize the latest approaches to wound healing and remain current in new scientific advances in wound care.
What to expect from the first appointment
Patients do not need a doctor’s referral to the Wound Care Center; you may self-refer. However, the majority of patients are referred by a primary care physician. Our program operates by appointment, and we are often able to schedule your initial examination during the week you call. Patients undergo a thorough diagnostic examination to identify the type of wound and the underlying problems causing the wound. At the initial appointment, we will fully assess what may be contributing to the chronic nature of the wound, classify and document the size of the wound, determine the overall health status of the patient and the patient’s ability to comply with needed therapies.
Some of the diagnostic modalities which may be used include:
- Laboratory evaluation
- Radiology (including MRI)
- Transcutaneous oxygen testing
- Vascular studies, electrocardiogram
After this determination, we will develop a treatment program based on the most effective treatment options to fit your specific circumstances.
What is specialized wound care?
Once a treatment plan has been initiated, you will visit the Center on a regular basis for specialized treatments and documentation of the progress of your healing. We will also teach you how to do your own wound care at home between visits and how to protect your wound from further injury. We will keep your primary care physician updated on the results of your wound care treatment and healing.
It is very important to remember that you are the most important part of your healing process. Keeping appointments and following directions are critical to attaining a positive healing outcome. While our treatments are clinically demonstrated to be effective, individual results will vary. The involvement of the patient and patient family or other care team can make a huge contribution to the success of your treatment program.
Preparing for your treatments
After your initial consultation and examination at the center, you will receive complete instructions regarding your treatment, including any special preparations you need to make. The most important preparation is setting up your plans and transportation so you keep your scheduled appointments and are on-time for each treatment so you can make consistent progress.
In the case of prescribed hyperbaric medicine, for safety reasons there are certain items not allowed inside the chambers. Please do not wear or bring the following into the chamber during your treatment:
- Make-up, nail polish, perfume, aftershave
- Flammable materials
- Wigs/hairpieces, hairspray and hair oils
- Hearing aids
- Alcohol or petroleum based products
- Metallic items (such as jewelry, watches, and coins)
- Ask your hyperbaric chamber technician about contact lens use
Note: You should also refrain from smoking or the use of any tobacco products during the entire course of therapy. Tobacco use will prolong or even prevent healing of a wound site due to its effect on the blood vessels in your body.
Before starting your treatment session, you will change into a 100% cotton garment provided by the Center. For safety reasons, no other clothing may be worn inside the chamber.
Is hyperbaric medicine safe, and how does it work?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and evidence-based treatment proven to speed the healing process in certain types of wounds. In fact, many patients find it relaxing! The clear chambers are equipped with televisions and comfortable bedding, so patients are free watch their favorite television shows or a movie, or even sleep.
During the treatments, the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized clear acrylic chamber, quickly increasing the concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream, where it is delivered to a patient's wound site for faster healing. Essentially, HBOT therapy helps heal the wound from the inside out. A typical course of treatment involves the patient spending about 90 minutes a day in the chamber five days per week over a four-to-six-week period.
This therapy fights infections and builds new blood vessels, ultimately producing healthy tissue. It is effective in treating diabetic wounds of the lower extremities, soft tissue radiation injuries, osteomyelitis and compromised skin grafts and flaps.
Medicare and most healthcare plans reimburse for hyperbaric oxygen therapy for "currently accepted indications". Our courteous and professional staff is available to assist you with all of your personal insurance issues.
What to expect during hyperbaric medicine treatment
Once you are comfortably positioned inside the chamber, the pressure will gradually increase and the temperature will temporarily rise. When the desired pressure is achieved, we will adjust the temperature to your comfort. You may experience fullness in your ears as a result of the increased pressure. The technician will instruct you in ways to help clear the pressure and relieve any discomfort. Most treatment sessions in the chamber last about 90 minutes. When the treatment is completed, the chamber returns to normal pressure and the interior of the chamber will become cooler.
If you are sick or on medication
If you have a cold or cough, the flu, sore throat, chills, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, inform the staff at the Center before your treatments begin. Also, alert the staff to any medications you are taking, or changes in medication during the course of your treatment. If you are diabetic, please eat properly and continue to take your prescribed medication to control your blood sugar level. Note: your blood sugar level will also be checked before and after each hyperbaric treatment.
The possible side effects of hyperbaric medicine
You may experience temporary vision changes which should return to normal within a few weeks after your therapy is completed. Our physicians recommend that you not change the prescription of your eyewear during the course of your therapy. Some patients experience fatigue during treatment. This is completely normal.
We look forward to serving you. Please contact a member of our staff with any other questions you may have regarding your therapy.