A Wound Healing Center Addresses Chronic Wounds
A variety of chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and poor blood circulation, often prevent or slow the natural healing of wounds. A wound healing center offers specialized plans of treatment for individuals with slow- or non-healing, chronic wounds, to prevent infection and other serious health complications.
About 5.7 million Americans are treated annually for chronic wounds, a problem that is increasing with the advancing age of the U.S. population.
A variety of chronic health conditions impede the natural healing process. Some of the most common chronic conditions experienced by persons treated in wound healing centers include:
- Diabetes, which puts people at greater risk of chronic wounds than any other condition. For a person with diabetes even a foot blister can lead to a chronic open sore, which can become infected, advance to gangrene, and in the worse cases, require amputation.
- Peripheral neuropathy—nerve disorders that affect the hands and feet
- Peripheral vascular disorders, which impede blood circulation
- Blockages of major arteries
- Radiation burns from cancer treatment
- Bone infections
- Post-surgical infections
In addition, confinement to bed as the result of illness can lead to the formation of pressure ulcers, which are commonly referred to as “bed sores.”
Patients who come to a wound healing center first complete diagnostic testing to evaluate the wound and the underlying condition that caused it. From these tests, a treatment plan is developed to address the specific needs of the patient.
When an underlying health condition is involved, a wound care center coordinates treatment with the patient’s physician, who manages the underlying condition to improve the effectiveness of the wound treatment and lessen the risk of recurrence.
The wound healing center educates the patient and his or her family members on how to care for wounds at home and promote healing and prevent recurrences through nutrition and other good health practices.
Treatment modalities used at a wound healing center include wound dressings; wound debridement, a minor surgical procedure that promotes healing; monitoring of oxygen and flow of blood that support healing; physical therapy; diet management; and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, in which the patient is exposed in a chamber to 100 percent oxygen, which enhances healing.