Timely Care Makes All the Difference

June 20, 2024

A doctor treating a man's hand woundChronic wounds, ones that don’t heal within 30 days, affect more than 6.5 million Americans every year, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Eileen Misas-Alvarez, Program Director of the Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, answers some important questions on wound care.

Q:  What are chronic wounds?

A:  Generally, if a wound does not improve after four weeks or heal within eight weeks, it is considered a non-healing or chronic wound.

Q:  What are some of the causes of wounds?

A:  Chronic wounds are associated with complications from numerous diseases and injuries, including:

  • Abscesses 
  • Burns
  • Insect bites
  • Malignant wounds
  • Peristomal skin irritations
  • Surgical wounds
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Ulcers (diabetic, pressure, venous stasis, arterial, neuropathic, ischemic)
  • Vasculitis

Q:  Who is most at risk?

A:  Many factors play a role in wound healing like age, diseases, infection, oxygen status of the tissue, medications, smoking, nutrition, obesity and circulation. Patients with non-healing wounds, especially those with diabetes or other vascular issues, can be at very high risk for limb loss.

Q:  What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)?

A:  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be considered as a treatment option for certain chronic wounds and other qualifying conditions.  Hyperbaric therapy is a noninvasive treatment. For their daily HBOT sessions, patients are placed in a chamber at an increased atmospheric pressure filled with 100% pure oxygen. This dramatically increases the blood’s ability to deliver oxygen to wounds, white blood cell activity and blood vessel formation at the wound site.

Q:  What treatments are available at Wellington?

A:  The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine provides specialized outpatient services with advanced treatments for healing chronic wounds. The Center offers a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach in the evaluation, treatment and management of chronic, non-healing, complex wounds. Its goal is to reach 100% healing within a 14-week regimen of treatments. The medical staff consists of physicians in general surgery, podiatry, plastic surgery and vascular surgery. Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan and, when needed, the team will collaborate with other healthcare professionals in order to expedite treatment and healing.

Wellington Regional Medical Center recently received the Center of Distinction award by Healogics®, the nation’s largest provider of advanced wound care services for the ninth year in a row. The Center achieved outstanding clinical outcomes for 12 consecutive months, including a patient satisfaction rate higher than 92 percent.