Since it opened two years ago, Eastern Connecticut Health
Network’s state-of-the-art Center for Wound Healing at Manchester Memorial Hospital has been busy treating and bringing comfort to people with open sores that have resisted traditional treatment.
The wound center, which serves Manchester and about 15
surrounding towns, opened in May 2009 as part of health care provider’s ongoing efforts to meet the medical needs of the community.
According to Denise Dowd, Program Director at ECHN’s Center
for Wound Healing, there are five to seven million patients who suffer from chronic wounds in the United States and less than 10 percent of them are currently enrolled in an organized wound management program.
Wounds the center treats include diabetic foot wounds, venous and arterial wounds, post surgical wounds, as well as burns and wounds
caused by accident or any kind of trauma, according to Dowd.
Since it opened, 1,094 individual patients have entered the program, and the center has healed 1,493 wounds (some patients have more than one wound).
“We are seeing wounds that are resistive to healing,” explained Dowd. “Most of it is because the patient has an underlying medical
condition like diabetes, infection or cancer.”
Each wound and situation is unique, according to ECHN. “The causes of open sores are complex and as varied as the people who walk through the Wound Center’s doors to receive treatment. As such, ECHN’s Wound Care Center staffs a unique team of doctors, nurses, and therapists all dedicated to healing chronic wounds,” said a press release.
"Unique to the region, ECHN’s Wound Care Center offers two cutting edge monoplace hyperbaric oxygen chambers to offer a therapy designed to help patients with a wide range of harder-to-treat wounds or wounds that take a long time to heal – such as skin ulcers, diabetes-related injuries and post-radiation soft tissue injuries,” said ECHN.
Dowd explained how the chambers work. “Patients rest comfortably in a clear acrylic cylinder and watch TV, listen to music or often times fall asleep. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by surrounding the patient
with 100 percent oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure to increase the amount of oxygen in the patient’s blood, promoting healing from the inside out,” she said.
According to ECHN, recent studies have shown that the quicker patients start receiving treatment in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, and get 100-percent oxygen into their body, the stronger the recovery.
In addition to tissue oxygenation, the Center for Wound Healing employs vascular studies, tissue culturing and pathology, revascularization, skin grafting, and clinical or surgical debridement,
according to a press release.
Overall, patients have been very pleased with the treatment they have received at the center, said Dowd. “I honestly have to say that our
patients have been thrilled with their care with us,” she said.
And the wound care center has the feedback to backup that claim.
“We ask all patients to complete a quick survey upon completion of
our program so that we can get feedback on what we can better improve in the process and systems," said Dowd. "We have a 95 percent positive satisfaction rating from our patients."
The patients aren’t the only ones who have been pleased with the level of care at the center. The ECHN Center for Wound Healing has been recognized as a leading provider of state-of-the-art care for chronic wounds with the Front Runner Award for 2009 and 2010 from the National Healing Corporation (NHC), which says it is “a leader in disease management, accounting for more than 30 percent of the nation’s managed and outsourced wound healing centers.”
Because the Manchester center is part of National Healing, patients are asked to come in for wound care one day a week, every week until
50 percent healing in their wound is seen, according to Dowd. “Due to our patients’ weekly visits, they really develop a sense of partnership with our physicians and nursing staff,” said Dowd. “I truly believe that it is our physicians and nursing staff here at our center that leads to our patients’ success, but that it’s the effort between our patients, their family, friends and our medical team that lead to our high healing rate.”
Medicare, Medicaid and most commercial insurance companies are accepted by ECHN and thus cover the treatments at the wound center. If a patient is self-pay, ECHN has financial assistance programs that will allow the patient to pay for services on a sliding scale based on their income, said Dowd.
For more information about the center, visit its website.