Everyone has heard that “time heals all wounds,” but evidence-based medicine indicates that without advanced interdisciplinary therapies, some wounds can take months or even years to heal. To help combat this issue, Riverview Hospital is expanding its Wound Care services to include innovative therapies that can help people with complex wounds heal faster.
“By adding new technologies, we’re able to deliver more comprehensive wound care to our patients,” said Lisa Needler Young, Rvierview’s director of Wound Care services. “And now we can provide these services in an environment that’s much closer to home, making it easier and more convenient for people.”
Tracey Ikerd, M.D., an infectious disease specialist, heads up the newly expanded program and believes it’s important to take a team approach to the treatment and care of complex wounds.
“Advanced wound care requires collaboration between the patient, the primary care physician, and a number of other specialists,” Ikerd, medical director of Wound Care services, said. “It’s particularly important that we involve the person’s primary care doctor, because we rely on them to help treat the underlying cause or disease. Most commonly, we treat people who have diabetic or pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps and wounds that haven’t healed within 30 days.”
The expanded Wound Care program at Riverview Hospital, which opened Sept. 3, houses two chambers for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This treatment works by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood, allowing red blood cells to pass more easily through the plasma to help heal a wound from the inside out. Patients can relax on a bed encased with a large, see-through plastic shell, and watch movies or talk with others through a speaker system. The only physical sensation is a slight pressure on the eardrum – such as that felt when an airplane lands – as the air chamber is pressurized.
In addition to tissue oxygenation, the new program will offer fluorescence imaging in wound care, Arobella ultrasonic debridement, clinical and surgical debridement, vascular studies, tissue culturing and pathology, revascularization and skin grafting.
“Our advanced Wound Care program emphasizes our commitment to providing the community with high-quality and comprehensive healthcare,” said Shannon Smith, RN, CWOCN, clinical manager of Wound Care services. “With our new hyperbaric chambers and advanced therapies, we can help patients with hard-to-heal or non-healing wounds reclaim their quality of life.”
The new program is available by appointment only. Physicians may refer their patients for evaluation and treatment. Patients may also self-refer. Medicare, Medicaid, and most insurance are accepted. To make an appointment or referral, call 776-7407. For more information, visit www.riverview.org.