December 28, 2012
You have no doubt heard the adage that ‘time heals all wounds,’ but in truth if you don’t have advanced therapies, some wounds can take years and even decades to heal properly, while others in extreme cases that do not respond to treatment can lead to amputation.
To increase every patient’s ability to receive the latest in wound care, Bronson Battle Creek’s Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center offers state-of-the-art wound care. Located on the first floor near the hospital’s outpatient center entrance, it offers large treatment rooms, and a spacious and comfortable reception area, making it much more convenient for patients to access wound services than in the past.
What is wound care?
A major emphasis of the center is outpatient wound care and follow-up to reduce wound deterioration and to promote wound healing. When the body's natural healing process is delayed or hindered by medical conditions such as diabetes or vascular disease, the wound becomes an ongoing problem.
There are two sets of factors that can impede the healing process—local and broader. Local factors that interfere with the healing process include pressure; a dry environment (wounds kept in a moist environment heal three to five times faster, with less pain, than those exposed to a dry environment); trauma and tissue swelling; infection; inability to control bowel and bladder function; and local tissue death.
Broader systemic factors can also impede healing at a wound site. These include age, body-build, chronic disease such as diabetes or renal failure, nutritional status, poor circulation, insufficient blood supply, and suppressed immune system.
“The aging process increases everyone's risk of developing a chronic, non-healing wound,” said Dr. Kerri Murray, a general surgeon with the Bronson Medical Group—Battle Creek and panel physician with the BBC Wound Center. “People with diabetes mellitus are particularly prone to developing non-healing wounds and are at greater risk of developing complications from those wounds if not properly treated. More than 50 percent of patients seen in some wound healing centers have a diabetes-related chronic, non-healing wound.”
Having diabetes which is not well controlled leads not only to decreased blood circulation in the lower extremities, but also affects the nervous system so even if a wound develops, because of poor fitting shoes for example, the person may not feel the wound.
The increased blood sugar levels also increase the risk of infections at the wound site, which can lead to gangrene. Aggressive treatment of these wounds, in a healing center such as the one at Bronson Battle Creek, can significantly decrease a person's risk of having their foot or leg amputated.
"We become a partner in the patient's medical care," says Dr. Murray. "While we dedicate our efforts to healing the patient's wound, the primary care physician is free to focus on treating the underlying cause or disease. Through regular reports and phone calls, we work with the patient’s doctors and other experts in the program to develop a total approach to treatment and care."
In addition to professional staff, Dr. Murray works with a panel of six other providers to review and advise on special wound cases. The interdisciplinary team includes infectious disease, internal medicine, family practice, general surgery, and podiatry, which allow patients the ability to see different specialists as needed within the course of their treatment.
One of the highly specialized treatments offered at the center is hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which works by the patient breathing 100 percent oxygen at a greater-than-normal atmospheric pressure. This saturates their blood plasma allowing it to carry 15 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to the body’s tissue. This allows for the wound to heal from the inside out, while patients relax on a bed with the ability to watch movies or listen to music while they undergo treatment. Diabetic foot wounds are an excellent example of wounds that may benefit most from this type of treatment. Other indications include chronic refractory osteomyelitis (bone infection), and compromised skin grafts/flaps.
In addition to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, the BBC Wound Healing Center also uses the latest clinical tools and traditional clinical practices. Each patient for example has her or his own individualized treatment plan, which may include debridements (removal of foreign or dead/damaged tissue), compression therapy, prescription growth factors, bio-engineered skin grafting, edema (excessive amounts of fluid in the tissues) management, and a non-invasive vascular assessment.
Bronson Battle Creek has provided wound care in the are since 2000, and in 2006 partnered with Healogics, a leading expert in research, education, and wound healing to provide the community with state-of-the-art specialized wound-healing treatment of chronic wounds and non-responsive conditions and offers hospital-based outpatient wound care.
If you have concerns about a wound that is not healing, talk with your healthcare provider. For more information, call the BBC Wound Center at (269) 245-8560.
Bronson Battle Creek is a 218-bed hospital that provides full outpatient and inpatient acute care including robotic surgery, diagnostics, and rehabilitation services; 100% all private rooms. It also offers world-class diagnostic capabilities including PET/CT imaging, freestanding ‘open’ and traditional MRI, CT (16- and 64-slice), and 3.0 Tesla MRI. Bronson Battle Creek has been recognized nationally as one of the safest hospitals, and has been a leader in the development of electronic health records as evidenced by multiple honors as one of America’s ‘most wired’ and ‘most wireless’ hospitals. The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons recognizes the Bronson Battle Creek Cancer Care Center as a Comprehensive Community Cancer Program, and the only hospital in Michigan to receive the CoC’s Outstanding Achievement Award three times in a row. Specialty services include inpatient behavioral health, the county’s largest accredited sleep center, and a wound-healing center with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. For nine years, Bronson Healthcare has been included on Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies list as a leading family friendly employer.