04/04/11 — Hospital's Wound Care Center scheduled to receive honor

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Hospital's Wound Care Center scheduled to receive honor

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 4, 2011 1:46 PM

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Brenda Williams begins a two-hour treatment in the hyperbaric chamber at Wayne Memorial Hospital Wound Center. Ms. Williams is being treated for a diabetic wound. The center is scheduled to receive an award for its performance.

When Brenda Williams of Goldsboro developed complications from diabetes, resulting in an open wound on her foot, she was referred to the Wound Care Center at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

The series of treatments in the center's hyperbaric chamber has helped a great deal with her healing, she said. The 100 percent oxygen environment promotes blood flow and recuperation.

Jennifer Wilder, the program director at the center, said the treatment requires a lot of commitment by the patient but the center has enjoyed remarkable results in the three years since its opening.

"They have to be here every day, Monday through Friday, for two hours each session," she said. "But the wonderful thing is that it absolutely heals wounds. It's good for those with bone infection, diabetic lower extremity (conditions), radiation injuries."

The center's successes have earned it a national Center of Distinction Award from Diversified Clinical Services, the Florida-based firm that manages the center.

"I would suggest it to anybody that's got a severe wound and needs a little extra help," Ms. Williams said

The center opened on March 31, 2008, in a separate building behind the emergency department at the hospital. It is one of more than 300 wound centers in the country. There are 13 similar centers in North Carolina but Goldsboro has the only such treatment center between Raleigh and Wilmington.

Open week days by appointment, patients are typically referred to the wound center by doctors but patients can also come directly to the center, depending on their insurance criteria, Mrs. Wilder said. The center has a staff of nine, with physicians from other sites serving on a rotational basis.

The center has made a huge difference in the lives of a number of patients, in some cases preventing the amputation of a limb.

"It helps save limbs, absolutely," Mrs. Wilder said. "We have had some excellent outcomes out there -- hyperbaric oxygen chamber, diabetes, preventing amputations or just basic wound care. I think we have healed over 725 wounds and that's just for the last calendar year, and we have seen over 407 new patients.

"I know that we have made a huge impact on a lot of patients' lives. They end up getting their lives back."

Recovery time varies, she said, depending upon a number of variables, such as the type of wound and the patient.

"Everybody heals at a different rate and the age -- the older you get, the harder it is for you to heal," Mrs. Wilder said. "We always strive to heal our patients in less than 14 weeks."

Earning the honor from Diversified Clinical Services indicates the center is doing its job well, Mrs. Wilder said.

"We have had 12 months of continuous good outcomes clinically," she said. "You have to have 89 percent or above healing rate, 30 median days to heal or less, which means from the time the patient walks in the door, 21 percent or less outlier rate -- patient that has not healed in 14 weeks -- and 90 percent or above patient satisfaction rate.

"It's typically, it's very difficult to maintain those outcomes for 12 months straight."

But the Wound Care Center did meet those expectations, thanks in part to the successful response of its patients as well as the efforts of its staff.

"It's constant," Mrs. Wilder said. "We have a lot of things that we're required to do, all kinds of weekly reports, monthly reports, quarterly reports, and then we have trainings. It's continuous. It never ends."

While it might be challenging in some respects, the program director said operating the center is also satisfying.

"It's a wonderful thing. It's a great job because doing the right thing clinically and helping the patients is very rewarding," she said. "It's a good feeling. There aren't many jobs in health care where you can walk away and say you made a difference."