When to Consider a Wound Care Specialist
Written by Healogics Chief Medical Officer, Dr. William Ennis.
Why Do Some Wounds Require Specialized Care?
Our human bodies have a remarkable ability to heal but chronic disease, traumatic injuries and certain medications can compromise our immune systems making chronic wounds difficult to heal. In addition, increased age, obesity, heart and vascular disease and cancer treatment are all factors that contribute to our inability to heal wounds. Whatever the cause, if a wound has not begun to heal within four weeks, it is less likely to achieve closure in the future meaning it is time to see a wound care specialist.
Approximately 7 million Americans are suffering from non-healing wounds. That’s one in every four families with a family member that could face possible amputation or death. Non-healing wounds affect current quality of life by limiting activities and they threaten long-term health with irreversible damage. The longer a chronic wound goes without proper care, the greater the risk of infection, hospitalization and amputation.
Why Choose a Wound Care Center®?
Many primary care physicians, even dermatologists, have not undergone advanced training in chronic wound care. Wound Care Centers® provide specialized care and more effective treatments. Our data shows that patients with wounds that do not receive care at a Wound Care Center are 20 times more likely to end up hospitalized.1 The following are examples of wounds that have better outcomes when treated at a Wound Care Center:
- Any wound that does not go through the expected healing stages after 4 weeks of treatment
- Any wound with exposed bone, tendon, joint capsule, or with significant tunneling
- A wound with an underlying history of chronic osteomyelitis
- A patient with a wound and underlying immune compromise, vascular disease, rheumatological disorders or diabetes
- A wound that might be related to a patient history of prior exposure to radiation therapy
- A rapidly progressive necrotizing soft tissue infection
In these cases, patients might require urgent transfer to an emergency department.
What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?
Oxygen is essential to our body’s wound-healing abilities. Wound Care Centers provide patients with access to clinical specialists in hyperbaric medicine and high-tech chambers with greater than normal atmospheric pressure and 100% pure oxygen. This allows the patient’s blood plasma to deliver 15 to 20 times the normal amount of healing oxygen to their body’s tissues. Wounds that might be considered for hyperbaric oxygen therapy include but are not limited to:
- Diabetic wound of the lower extremity that fails standard of care for 30 days
- Late effects of radiation therapy on soft tissue
- A failed graft procedure
- Chronic refractory osteomyelitis
What Is the Healogics Wound Science Initiative?
The Healogics Wound Science Initiative
is our commitment to use research to advance wound care science and continually improve treatment. We have one of the largest wound care databases in the world with more than five million wounds. We have partnerships with academic and research-based scientists to consult and analyze, driving collaboration to provide better outcomes for our patients. The information we gain through this research and analysis guides our treatment protocols so we are continuously reducing recovery times and costs. In fact, patients treated by Healogics have 9% lower all-cause total cost of care than patients who treat their wounds elsewhere.2
Healogics provides world-class wound care to help wounds heal faster at more than 600 Wound Care Centers® nationwide. Over the past 20 years, we have helped to heal more than four million wounds.
If you are living with a non-healing wound, or caring for someone who is, request an appointment today.
William J. Ennis, DO, MBA, MMM, CPE, is chief medical officer of Healogics, the nation’s leading provider of advanced wound care. He also serves as the Catherine and Francis Burzik Professor of Wound Healing and Tissue Repair and chief of the Section of Wound Healing at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Vascular Surgery.
1These are patients who are discharged home, which accounts for 40% of the patients; this is based off Healogics national data and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services public files. This looks at patients who were discharged with all wounds healed versus those where at least one wound was not healed at time of discharge. Patients who had all wounds healed were less likely to be discharged to inpatient care than those who had at least one open wound. This excludes consults and patients classified as admitted for a non-wound diagnosis.
2Large analysis that reviewed all patients with a new wound diagnosis in 2016 and captured all their CMS claims (IP and OP only) in the year following that diagnosis. Healogics patients had lower total health costs than those that received outpatient wound care elsewhere. From Healogics CMS inpatient and outpatient claims data.