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Q&A: Understanding Wound Care

Hospital news | Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Ricardo DeLeon, MD

Chronic wounds are painful, often debilitating and potentially life-threatening, but the right medical attention can make all the difference. Modern wound care treatment is highly effective, but many people are unaware of their treatment options.

Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, a part of Iredell Health System, offers advanced therapies to patients suffering from chronic wounds. Wound Care Awareness Week is June 4 to 8, and Iredell Wound Care experts are answering some of the questions you may have about wound care and hyperbaric treatment.

What is a chronic wound?
Typically, a chronic wound is a wound that does not respond to normal treatment after 30 days. If left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to diminished quality of life, amputation and disability.

Who can benefit from wound care treatment?
Conditions like diabetes, poor circulation, a weakened immune system and severe injuries can all cause wounds that have trouble healing. Some patients in wheelchairs develop pressure ulcers, some are left with chronic wounds after radiation therapy. The aging population is another concern because older people are more likely to develop chronic wounds.

"We give every new patient a thorough assessment," said Robin Cline, clinical coordinator at the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. "We follow clinical guidelines that are proven to promote healing and we customize that treatment to each patient's needs."

What kinds of treatments are available?
Advanced wound care goes beyond just bandages. The Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center relies on a number of treatment options including bioengineered skin substitutes, debridement, special shoes and growth factor therapies. Patients may also spend time in the hyperbaric chamber, a state-of-the-art device that pumps 100 percent pure oxygen for the patient in a pressurized environment, helping the body to produce healthy tissue. The Center also incorporates physical and occupational therapy, nutritional management and more to address total patient health.

"There is a lack of awareness of advanced wound care options," said Dr. Ricardo DeLeon, Medical Director of Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. "Too many people are living with non-healing wounds for months or even longer because they don't know about the resources that are available."

With individualized care and follow up, wound care treatment is very successful. Ninety-two percent of wounds treated at the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center are healed within 31 days. The Center has received the Healogics Inc. Center of Excellence for five years in a row, and is the only Center in Iredell County to continuously receive that award.

"I think the secret to success is not only the level of training, but also the attentiveness of our staff," said Dr. DeLeon. "By listening to our patients and working with them, we can help them to improve their health and their quality of life."

For more information, contact the Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at 704-768-0542.

Pictured below: One of the hyperbaric chambers at Iredell Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center