Area residents with diabetes or circulatory problems who develop non-healing wounds that impact their daily lives now can stay close to home and receive state-of-the-art treatment to expedite the healing process from highly trained specialists at Mary Rutan Hospital’s new Wound Care Center.
With the opening of the center March 24 on the hospital campus at 205 E. Palmer Road, Bellefontaine, Tom Denbow, Vice President of Ambulatory Services, said patients no longer have to travel out of the county to receive this specialized care, including therapy utilizing a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which helps the body’s oxygen-dependent, wound-healing mechanism function more efficiently.
“We’re excited to offer this hyperbaric oxygen therapy to our community and other advanced healing options to our patients,” he said. “Our team offers a comprehensive approach to wound care and our team members have been through highly specialized training to help patients through this process.
“Individuals can be referred to the wound care center by their physicians or they can self-refer, and we can assist them in working with their insurance companies to get the therapy that they need.”
Prior to opening the center, Denbow said Mary Rutan Hospital conducted research to gather outside opinions, including from area nursing homes, and also examined the needs of the local diabetic population.
“We found that the nursing homes locally were very interested in having this service available here in the county. Their residents were having to travel out of town to receive these much-needed services that improve their quality of life.”
Representatives said the wound care center at Mary Rutan Hospital offers advanced treatment options for a number of conditions, including chronic skin wounds and ulcers, decubitus ulcers (bedsores), vascular wounds, non-healing surgical wounds, diabetic foot ulcers, compromised skin grafts, chronic osteomyelitis, soft tissue radionecrosis, crush injuries, pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers or arterial ulcers.
The incidence of individuals across the country needing this kind of care is growing each year, said Dr. Michael Cray, Wound Care Center Medical Director.
“Between five and seven million Americans experience at least one form of a non-healing wound annually and the incidence of these wounds is increasing by approximately 10 percent each year,” he said. “Many of these individuals suffer from wounds that refuse to heal despite conventional treatment.”
However, when utilizing the advanced treatment of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, this technology helps to stimulate the body’s natural healing responses. HBO is administered in a hyperbaric chamber that delivers 100 percent oxygen with increased atmospheric pressure.
While breathing pure oxygen in the chamber, the patients’ blood plasma is saturated, which allows it to carry 10 to 15 times the usual amount of healing oxygen to the body’s tissues.
Patients undergoing HBO treatment have complete privacy in an individual chamber, equipped with a television for patient comfort and entertainment. Denbow related these sessions are closely monitored by technicians and typically take place five days a week for four to six weeks, depending on an individual’s needs.
Especially beneficial for diabetic patients with non-healing ulcers, as well as those with arterial ulcers and other types of wounds that fail to respond to conservative therapy, HBO is also a treatment for conditions without open wounds, such as osteomyelitis, radionecrosis and osteoradionecrosis.
“Our team is thrilled to offer our community the individualized care needed to achieve the healing of complex wounds,” Dr. Cray said.
Among the specialized wound care center staff working together to manage patient care are physicians, nurses and technicians, and Sadie Bratka is serving as the program director.
The opening of the wound care center on the hospital’s campus follows Mary Rutan Hospital’s opening of a Level II Cardiac Catheterization (cath) Laboratory in the fall. On site services include interventional and diagnostic cardiac catheterization, peripheral vascular angiograms and intervention, pacemaker and defibrillator procedures, and loop recorder procedures.
The new Heart & Vascular Clinic offers access to emergency interventional heart care, with a cardiologist available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to emergency services, scheduled procedures will be available locally in the clinic, minimizing the need for patients to travel far from home.
“We have really broadened our horizons in the past five months,” Denbow said. “I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish while working through the many challenges of the pandemic.”
Mary Rutan Hospital Wound Care Center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information about wound care or to schedule an appointment at the new center, call (937) 592-4039 or visit www.maryrutan.org/woundcare.