Most of us have had a cut or wound at some point in our lives. Our body typically takes care of our wounds on its own and they heal up within a few weeks. However, that is not the case for everyone. Wounds that are present for eight weeks without any signs of healing are considered to be chronic wounds.
Chronic wounds currently affect 6.5 million patients in the United States partly due to a sharp rise in the incidence of diabetes and obesity. Most chronic wounds arise as a result of poor blood circulation, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
The common types of chronic wounds are pressure sores/ulcers, surgical wounds, radiation sores and foot and leg ulcers. These wounds often have trouble healing due to diabetes, poor circulation, poor nutrition, smoking, obesity, inactivity and excessive alcohol use. These type of wounds can take months to heal and must be cared for meticulously in order to heal.
Keeping a chronic wound clean is vital for healing. Treatment at a wound care center is typically prescribed for a chronic, non-healing wound. Wound care center staff will do a careful assessment of the wound and the patient’s overall health to determine why the wound is not healing and to create an individualized treatment plan. Treatments for chronic wounds include:
- Wound dressing and wraps
- Debridement- removal of dead or inflamed tissue
- Compression Therapy- Stockings or bandages to help improve circulation
- Skin Grafts- when a wound is so large it can’t close on it’s own
- Vacuum-assisted closure therapy- the wound is covered with an airtight dressing that is connected to a pump to suck fluid out of the wound
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy- breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber
If you are suffering from a wound that is not healing, schedule an appointment with your primary provider for evaluation. In Henry County, we are fortunate to have a new facility that just opened for treating chronic wounds. The Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric medicine opened in February at 239 Tyson Avenue. This is a joint effort where Henry County Medical Center and Grace Clinic have merged together. Providers at the clinic are Lindsay Foust, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Alycia Gibson, PA, and Sonya Clark, certified wound, ostomy, and continence nurse. They will be offering treatments such as negative pressure wound therapy, debridement, multi-layer compression wraps and skin grafts as well as ostomy and fistula management.
Dr. Foust will be hosting a Lunch to Learn at the HCMC Diagnostic Center Atrium on March 18 at 12 noon to speak about wound care and the new wound clinic. We invite the community to come out and learn more about this new venture and treatments for your chronic wounds. Call the Henry County Medical Center Findline at 731-644-3463 to register for the Lunch to Learn or for more information about the Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine.