Of the many challenges we face in our healthcare careers, the one we abhor the most is when, despite our best efforts, a patient does not respond to conventional treatment. This is especially true in the practice of wound care. Approximately 5,000,000 Americans suffer from chronic, non-healing wounds. These include diabetic foot ulcers, arterial and venous ulcers, bedsores, traumatic wounds, and non-healing surgical wounds. Moreover, with our aging population and the ever-increasing prevalence of obesity, the problem is growing.
At The Center for Advanced Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Saint Francis, we employ a multidisciplinary approach to wound management. Using the most advanced and up-to-date wound care techniques and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) when indicated, we strive for and are achieving healing rates that are at national benchmark levels. However, we could do better. Even though HBOT is not indicated for every patient who presents with a chronic wound, we feel there are many under your care that might benefit and for whom HBOT was simply not considered or even thought of. In fact, hyperbaric medicine has yet to be included in the basic core curriculum of most medical schools.
In order to better educate you and to have hyperbarics in your mindset as a treatment option, I will soon be sending out a hyperbaric primer for healthcare deliverers. In it you will find basic definitions, indications, contraindications, possible complications and side effects, what your patients can expect, dos and don’ts, insurance considerations, and answers to frequently asked questions. I hope you will read it and that you come away knowing that HBOT is real science with real clinical application based on extensive data and established clinical evidence.
The Center for Advanced Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine is an outpatient facility located at the North Campus on Blue Hills Ave. where we have three single-patient (monoplace) hyperbaric chambers, as well as multiple treatment areas for patient evaluation and wound care management. In addition, we have an inpatient wound care team at the main campus six days a week who are available for wound care consultation and are also part of the skin breakdown prevention team.
I am also excited to announce that an inpatient hyperbaric program is in the making at Saint Francis. The chamber is already in place, located between the MICU and the SICU, and I expect to have it open and running for selected inpatients in the early fall. Such patients can begin their HBOT treatments there and continue them as outpatients, if indicated, in our facility at the North Campus.
If you have any questions about HBOT, wound care, or you would like to discuss a patient that you think may be a candidate for our program, please call us at 860-714-3010. Better yet, come and visit the Center for a personal tour and to meet the staff.
We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and your patients to improve the outcomes for which we all strive.
Daniel S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
The Center for Advanced Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine at Saint Francis