People who have wounds that won’t heal and have visited their doctor about the matter – and are still having problems – go to Comanche County Memorial Hospital’s Center for Wound Care and Hyperbarics for specialized treatment.
Kristina Kriz, a case manager at the center, said after a doctor referral or the patient makes the appointment themselves, they have them come in so they can come up with a treatment plan. Healogics, the company they work through, has a 9 step plan they use.
“And we find out why the wound isn’t healing, what barriers they have to wound healing, and how we can go about those to help them succeed to get to a healed wound,” Kriz said. “Our patients, we talk with them all the way through. We teach them what they need to do to help us help them.”
At the center, they do things like compression wraps, total contact casts, which is sometimes best for diabetics, and hyperbaric therapy. Stefanie Timerson said they see a wide range of wounds.
“Some people who’ve gone in for surgery, they might’ve placed staples or sutures, and when the sutures come out, sometimes the wounds open back up,” Timerson said. “At that point, they’d come to us, and we’d start some wound care. Sometimes they have to have a wound VAC put on. Sometimes we have to pack the wounds.”
Kriz said no wound or patient is the same, so they have to look at each patient differently because there are many reasons it may not be healing.
“Sometimes it’s one thing that they need like compression,” Kriz said. “Other times, it’s more in-depth. Compression, leg elevation, diuretics, diabetes control, infection control if they need antibiotics and things like that.”
They said it’s important to note that they don’t replace primary care physicians but work with them to get the patients healed.
“We want to make sure their primary care knows what’s going on so they can help us help them too,” Kriz said.
Timerson said the main complication they see is called osteomyelitis, which is when there is an open wound that gets infected, and the infection goes to the bone.
“They normally have to start strong IV antibiotics,” Timerson said. “And if we can control it, we can save the limb, but if it’s gone too far, it can lead to amputation. So that’s why it’s important to get in as soon as possible.”
Being in a state where you might lose a limb is hard on the patient, which is why Timerson said they do more than just meet their patient’s physical needs.
“There’s a lot of patients that come in here that feel hopeless,” Timerson said. “And a lot of them ask for prayer, and that’s the deep relationship that we have with our patients. If they ask for prayer, we’re going to pray with them. If they need a hug, they’re going to get a hug. More importantly, we’re going to get them out of this clinic healed.”
“It’s not about treating the wound,” Kriz said. “It’s about treating the patient as a whole, and our staff takes that personally.”
Officials at the Wound Care Center said you can tell that the patients appreciate all the care they’re getting by looking at the numbers. The center’s comprehensive heal rate is 80%, while the national average is 75%. Their patient satisfaction is at 95%, and 100% said they’d come back if they ever needed the specialized treatment again.