When vascular surgeon Dr. David Stanley was sent on a mission in 2005 to “look into” hyperbaric medicine as part of a new wound treatment center at Methodist Medical Center, he was skeptical. “I didn’t think it was much good,” Dr. Stanley recalls with a laugh.
Ten years later, Dr. Stanley serves as director of Methodist’s Wound Treatment Center and is an outspoken advocate of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The procedure is just one of many treatment options offered at the Wound Treatment Center, which celebrated its 10th anniversary with an open house and wound care education event on June 8.
The goal of the center is to improve patients’ quality of life by managing wounds to ensure that they heal quickly and completely. The Center’s staff of nine employees and four physicians bring their expertise to the challenge of non-healing wounds.
In addition to Dr. Stanley, physicians include hyperbaric medicine specialists Dr. Nawras Baban and Dr. Ken Miller, and surgeon Dr. Frances Cross. The physicians are certified in hyperbaric medicine and advanced wound care.
At the Wound Treatment Center, “Our greatest strength is teamwork—it helps us achieve positive outcomes,” said Jenni Sampson, LPN, affirming an attribute expressed by many of the staff members. Shanon Gearin, hyperbaric oxygen therapy LPN, added, “We take pride in seeing patients in the community who have healed and are able to return to their lifestyle.”
The Methodist Wound Treatment Center offers many services in addition to hyperbaric oxygen. In fact, HBO is only used in about 15 percent of cases, most often for diabetic ulcers which have failed to heal, radiation injury to skin and organs, and chronic bone infection underlying a non-healed wound. Other therapies and treatments available at the Wound Treatment Center include:
- Sharp debridement
- Negative pressure therapy
- Wound care with advanced products not available in general physician offices
- Negative pressure therapy to promote tissue granulation on the cellular level and to draw the edges of the wound together
- Epifix®, a biological skin substitute derived from amniotic tissue to promote healing
During its 10 years of service, the Center has incorporated new developments in wound treatment. “We stay current with wound care science and we have more advanced wound care products and treatment options,” said Michelle Bailey, RN, clinical manager. “For example, we are able to do some procedures which allow us to use the patient’s own skin tissue to promote healing—it is less invasive as a full thickness skin graft.”
The Wound Treatment Center has a clinical practice which assigns a registered nurse to each patient, and the nurse assists the patient through the continuum of medical care while he or she receives wound treatment. Collaboration with other medical experts is a hallmark of the Methodist Wound Treatment Center. Deena Jenkins, RN case manager, said a good description of the center’s philosophy of care is “no stone left unturned.”
“We assess any comorbidities the patient has, and work with their primary care physicians and specialists to address issues that may be affecting the patients’ ability to heal,” Bailey explained. “We don’t take the initial assessment on face value—we dig deeper.”
“Our providers and physicians are passionate about getting the patient healed,” added Tristan Murray, RN case manager.
“Usually we’ll work with several specialists on a single case,” Dr. Stanley said. “In one case with a diabetic patient, we worked with infectious disease, endocrinology, urologists, and the family physician.”
The Center treated 391 new patients in 2015 and had 4,521 wound care visits. Of those treatments, 1,933 were hyperbaric oxygen treatments.
The Wound Treatment Center is justifiably proud of its excellent outcomes. “Our healing rate for January through May of 2016 is 90.43 percent healed in 14 weeks or less, and we have a median ‘days to heal’ of 28,” said Kristie Teffetteller, program director of the Center.
“Our patients have had wounds for weeks or months or even years before they came here,” Dr. Stanley said. “So if we can heal them in 30 days when they’ve had a wound for years—that’s pretty good. Sometimes people come to us who have been recommended for amputation. The majority of time—70, 80 or 90 percent—we are able to save their legs.”
The excellent patient outcomes at Methodist’s Wound Treatment Center give the staff a special sense of pride.
“Watching patients heal is very gratifying, especially after some have struggled with open wounds for a very long time.” Teffetteller said. “We also work very hard to help patients access community resources that help them in their goals of healing,” Jenkins noted.
When treatment is successful, each patient gets a chance to celebrate by ringing a cowbell at the Wound Treatment Center. “When we hear the cowbell, we know another person has healed,” said Sampson. “Other patients hear the bell and are encouraged that there is an end in sight.”
Bell ringing is a great way to mark the anniversary of Methodist’s Wound Treatment Center. In addition, the staff and physicians can simply reflect with pride on the Wound Treatment Center’s many success, and the countless patients who have benefitted from their “healing touch.”
For more information about the Wound Treatment Center at Methodist Medical Center, visit www.mmcoakridge.com/wound or call (865) 835-3740.
This press release was submitted by Kelly Goodman of Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.
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