Note: Patients may not know what to expect from a specialized service such as Deaconess Wound Services. This physician article can help patients feel more informed.
Chronic non-healing wounds are a daily fact of life for many. Whether they result in lost wages, prolonged hospitalization or the loss of a limb, these wounds can be as life-altering as they are costly. Deaconess Wound Services addresses this problem with the most advanced techniques available.
Deaconess Wound Services opened in 2000 as one of the first of its kind in the area dedicated to the treatment of non-healing wounds. It is staffed by a team of highly trained, board-certified physicians who excel in their specialties and who have a strong desire to assist their patients in confronting the challenges of chronic non-healing wounds. These physicians specialize in Family Practice, Podiatry, Infectious Disease, Vascular Surgery and General Surgery and are supported by a team of experienced nurses and nurse practitioners.
More than 4,000 patient visits occur each year at Deaconess Wound Services with patients traveling from as far north as Vincennes and as far south as Madisonville, Kentucky. Deaconess Wound Services is the local leader in the treatment of non-healing wounds, and you can rest assured that you are under the care of a knowledgeable, compassionate team. At Deaconess you are a patient – not a wound – and your care will be closely coordinated with your primary care physician.
This personal attention begins with your initial visit, when a detailed medical history is taken. Your wound will be photographed and measured. These measurements will be taken at each subsequent visit as a means of accurately charting your progress. You will also undergo a thorough physical exam that may include blood tests, x-rays, or advanced imaging if determined to be necessary. Since there are many factors that can directly affect your ability to heal, special attention will be given to them and additional testing may be done. Some of the factors that can adversely affect your ability to heal include:
- Diabetes. An erratic daily blood sugar, whether too high or too low, will dramatically alter your ability to heal. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, tests may be run to assess a daily blood sugar average. Appropriate recommendations will be made.
- Diet. A lack of protein directly affects wound healing. Testing will reveal deficiencies and dietary supplements may be recommended. Nutritional counseling is available.
- Circulation. Tissues require adequate oxygenation and this is dependent on proper circulation. A simple, painless test may be ordered to adequately assess the circulation of the arteries and veins. If these are found to be deficient, additional testing is available along with recommended therapies. You may be referred to one of our vascular specialist for more advanced testing and treatment.
- Smoking. Nicotine has disastrous effects on your overall health. Smoking can adversely affect blood pressure, lung function, and circulation to name only a few of the vital systems. All of these are important to your overall health and directly impact wound healing.
- Infection. Your skin is the first line of defense against an infection. A wound is a breach of that defense, setting the scene for infection. Simple testing can direct your wound-care team to the appropriate antibiotic. If necessary, a referral to our Infectious Disease Specialists will be made.
- Activity. Some wounds are impacted by weight bearing. Steps can be taken to prescribe appropriate shoes, inserts or other modalities as necessary.
Once the examination is completed and the results of the testing have been received, you may be directed to one of our specialists. These specialists will partner with you in addressing your underlying health concerns while incorporating some of the most advanced wound treatments available. You may be treated with such techniques as:
- Advanced tissue agents. There are a variety of these, each with their own indications. Your physician will determine which one is right for you.
- Advanced skin substitutes.
- Wound VACs. These instruments provide for reduction of swelling while improving the health of the wound bed.
- Antibiotic therapy
- Debridement. This is a procedure for the removal of infected or devitalized tissue. Failure to remove this tissue can delay healing and increase the risk of infection.
- Daily or weekly dressing changes which may include a variety of compression therapies.
- Surgery. In the rare instances where surgery is required, your surgeon will explain the necessity of the procedure and will thoroughly address all of your concerns prior to scheduling.
Of course, no therapy can succeed without your commitment. Following advice, keeping appointments, and implementing the life-style changes recommended will dramatically improve your chance of a successful result.
Deaconess Wound Services remains committed to your long term health. When your wound has healed, your primary care physician will receive an updated report. If necessary, you will be connected to any one of a number of additional support systems to prevent a recurrence. These could include the Deaconess Diabetes Center, Endocrinologists, Nutritionists, or Podiatrists.
A chronic non-healing wound may be a fact of life for you. Fortunately, you now have a partner. The Deaconess Wound Services stands ready to help you in overcoming this difficult challenge.
For more information, visit www.deaconess.com/wound or call 812-450-7700.