CONWAY — With the most state-of-the-art equipment and specialized wound care, Memorial Hospital's Wound Care Center opened just over a year ago to take a leading role battling a growing health care crisis affecting 8 million people in the U.S. Memorial's Wound Care Center was the first such center to open in northern New Hampshire. With two hyperbaric oxygen chambers, Memorial's Wound Care Center provided care to patients in more than a thousand treatment encounters during its first year of operation in 2011.
Every six minutes across the nation, an amputation is performed on someone with diabetes who has developed a chronic non-healing wound as a complication of the disease. The rising incidence of chronic wounds can also be correlated to obesity, vascular disease, an aging population and radiation treatment side-effects which are often underlying causes.
"Memorial Hospital has been serving the diverse healthcare needs of Mount Washington Valley residents for 100 years. We pride ourselves on providing a full spectrum of health care services through a team of highly skilled providers and staff who deliver exceptional care," said Scott McKinnon, president and CEO. "We are very pleased to offer local residents wound care of this caliber."
"We offer the most comprehensive treatment for acute or chronic wounds, no matter what their origin. Our dedicated interdisciplinary team provides individualized care using advanced wound care treatment techniques including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which significantly speeds healing in some patients," said Alan S. Goldenhar, DPM, FACFAS, co-director of the center.
"The prevalence of chronic wounds in the United States population affects approximately 6 million people or 2 percent of the population. The increasing incidence and prevalence of diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and venous disease, in addition to the aging of our population, makes the demand for quality results-driven wound care more important than ever," said W. Stuart Battle, MD, co-director.
To date, Memorial's wound care center has provided specialized care to more than 619 patients. The advanced treatments available at the center include hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, bio-engineered skin substitutes, biological and biosynthetic dressings and growth factor therapies.
Chronic wounds are classified as those which have not healed in 30 days or more although many may have existed for months or even years. Memorial's Wound Care Center healed 85 percent of chronic longtime wounds in with an average heal time of 22 weeks, to deliver leading outcomes.
Gerald Steele, who has used Memorial's Wound Care services said, "A diabetic ulcer on my foot wouldn't heal until I was treated at Memorial's Wound Care Center. The chamber is really comfortable with climate control, TV and music. Robert Greenwood, Memorial's Wound Care technician, was always there for me. Every moment at the Wound Care Center felt like a moment of health and I'm grateful to have such advanced care close to home.
Patient David Brown said: "Dr. Stuart Battle and the nurses are all very knowledgeable. They make me feel comfortable during what could be a stressful process. I've been to several hospitals in the past, and I find Memorial the most caring of all."
During the non-invasive procedure, patients receive treatment relaxing on a bed incased in a large see-through plastic shell as they are surrounded by 100 percent oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen medicine may be used to treat wounds related to more than one dozen conditions including diabetic foot ulcers, radiation injuries to tissue and bone, necrotizing infections, compromised skin grafts and skin flaps and some types of arterial insufficiency and ischemia.
While a study of 50 American medical schools found that students receive less than six hours of education in the science and care of wounds during their studies, physicians and clinical teams at Memorial Hospital's Wound Care Center receive highly specialized training. Working with Healogics, which assists hospitals across the country in establishing quality wound healing programs, Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center participates in training at the Healogics training facility in Jacksonville, Florida and regional wound care symposiums sponsored by Healogics featuring internationally recognized specialists discussing new treatment options and promising research in the field.
For more information on the treatment of chronic wounds at Memorial Hospital, contact the wound care and hyperbaric medicine center, located at 3073 White Mountain Highway, or call Pam Fortin, RN, MPH, program director at 356-4949.