Paying attention to wounds that don’t heal

04.20.2020

Patients who experience trouble with chronic wounds healing may be more vulnerable if they contract COVID-19. This is not due to the wounds themselves, but because of other underlying health conditions often associated with the chronic wounds. Some of these underlying conditions can include diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, immune system deficiencies and respiratory conditions, which can all interfere with the body’s ability to recover from COVID-19.
 
One of our primary objectives at the Goshen Wound & Hyperbaric Center is to keep these patients out of the hospital by having continued access to wound care. This reduces the risk of chronic wounds becoming more serious and leading to hospitalization. Still, there are times when a visit to your doctor is necessary. We’re careful to screen all patients for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a wound center visit, practice social distancing within the clinic, and do not permit children in the clinic. Visitors are only allowed to accompany a patient if the patient has a medical need for their visitor or caregiver to be with them.
 
For our established patients, we’re familiar with their needs to assess their situations and determine how much care and follow up can be done from the safety of their homes. Sometimes patients have the assistance of a home health nurse, who can change their dressings and provide supplemental care.  Other patients can be instructed on certain dressing changes they or their family can perform. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments, wound procedures, total contact casting and multilayer compression wraps still need to be done at the clinic. Each patient has an individualized care plan developed by his or her physician. We can even provide Telehealth virtual visits in some cases.
 
For people who aren’t our patients, we take self-referrals. We can do an initial assessment through a Telehealth virtual visit.
 
We want people to know that we’re here and we’re open. If you have a chronic wound that has not healed within 30 days, it’s time to talk to a healthcare provider. We’d much rather have you come in and find out that it’s an easily manageable wound than to wait too long and discover permanent damage.
 
When wounds don’t heal on their own, it can be because arteries have narrowed over time, sometimes due to the buildup of plaque. This is why there is often a connection between wounds that won’t heal and heart or vascular health. Diabetes also affects glucose metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to heal itself. Other causes also exist and a wound care physician can develop an individualized care plan to get you headed on the right course towards healing.
 
Goshen Health’s wound healing rate is above national averages, with over 92 percent of patients’ wounds healed in 14 weeks or less. The sooner wounds are healed, the more quickly patients can return to the activities they love.
 

 Article by Kevin Houseman, DPM, FACFAS, Podiatrist, who provides care below the knee.He  sees patients at Goshen Wound & Hyperbaric Center and Goshen Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. He  treats diabetic, venous and pressure wounds. He also provides care for worker’s  compensation cases and accidents that have associated wounds. Dr. Houseman treats numerous types of non-wound related foot and ankle problems as well at Goshen  Orthopedics & Sports Medicine.