04/01/08 — Wound Care Center opens doors to public Wednesday

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Wound Care Center opens doors to public Wednesday

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 1, 2008 1:45 PM

The Wound Care Center at Wayne Memorial Hospital opens its doors Wednesday as a state-of-the-art facility designed to improve level of care and decrease healing time.

Most people probably don't realize the importance of such a center, said Tom Bradshaw, the hospital's vice president of operations.

But for those struggling with diabetes, resulting in poor vascular function and leg circulation, or wounds that simply won't heal, it's a necessity.

"It's a lot better to get wounds healed quickly instead of dealing with it for months and months and sometimes having amputations," Bradshaw said.

In fact, if prompt and aggressive care is administered, healing can not only occur faster but hopefully prevent amputations completely.

The ultimate goal, Bradshaw said, is to "get these people here, have a longer life, better quality of life through this program."

Research backs up the claim that when the right approach is taken, healing rates are better.

"Because of that, insurance companies have recognized that there's a certain way to improve outcomes on these patients," he said. "It's a best practice for wounds, and that's what we're working toward."

Efforts toward bringing a wound care center to Goldsboro actually began years ago, Bradshaw said.

"The hospital looked at this -- on our own, training our staff or partnering with national firms who have the latest protocols and equipment, wound care supplies," he said.

In the past, the hospital has provided physical therapy and wound treatment services through its rehab department. It's been one of the hospital's busiest programs, he noted.

"We see about 400 new patients a year at Wayne Memorial, some coming back day after day for dressing changes," he said. "I think we have been doing a good job over the years. Still, it's overdue in terms of bringing state-of-the-art services.

"This will improve the level of care."

Officials came up with a "physician-driven model," he said. The center will be staffed by doctors, eight trained specifically for this purpose, he added.

"They had to take an intensive six-day course in Houston," Bradshaw said.

Operating under regular hours -- Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. -- the outpatient services will feature evaluation by a nurse and further treatment by the physicians on staff.

But it is the expansion equipment that will help make bigger differences, Bradshaw said.

"One of the things that we'll have that we have not had before is the hyerbaric oxygen chambers," he said, noting that there will be two. "About 14 percent of our patients will be candidates for that."

Described as a long tube with an opening for patients, it has a "100 percent oxygen environment" that equates to the atmosphere equivalent of going down about 30 feet in water, Bradshaw explained.

"Pressure, the oxygen-rich environment, gets into the system and enriches the oxygen into those wounds and (the patient) can get better healing," he said.

The treatment is expected to decrease healing time, Bradshaw said.

"The goal is to have a wound healed within 14 weeks," he said. "That's the national standard, although this company we're working with, the average is around nine weeks."

Dr. Marvin Ewy, a board-certificated general, thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, will serve as medical director for the program.

"We are excited to be able to provide this much-needed addition to our program. Our entire multidisciplinary team of physicians and nurses are trained to provide comprehensive treatment and care," he said.

A 3,000-square-foot standalone building located behind the hospital, the Wound Care Center will accept appointments and referrals.

Its telephone number is 731-6139.