Published on March 16, 2017

Let the healing begin

Chronic wounds need special care

Bandaging woundTime, it’s said, heals all wounds. That may be true in matters of the heart. But some physical wounds refuse to get better, even after weeks of treatment.

That’s where Nazareth Hospital’s Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine comes in. Using the latest in advanced wound care, the Center’s medical staff boasts an average 95 percent success rate in healing chronic wounds.

What is a chronic wound?

“We usually say a wound has become chronic when it hasn’t significantly improved after 30 days,” says Jeanette M. Bernacki, MS, RN, Director of the Center.

Wounds can become chronic when a person has diabetes or problems with blood flow. Other reasons for chronic wounds include:

  • Bone infections
  • Tissue damage from radiation treatment
  • Frostbite
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Healing therapies

“We have a wide variety of treatments for chronic wounds in our toolbox at the Center that may not be available in a primary care doctor’s office,” Jeanette says.

One such treatment is surgical debridement, which involves cutting away infected and dead tissue.

Other treatments designed to help heal wounds include special dressings, casts that take the weight off of a leg or foot, and skin grafts using man-made skin substitutes.

But perhaps the most impressive tool is the hyperbaric chamber.

A person lies inside the clear, tube-like compartment, which is pressurized, and breathes 100 percent pure oxygen. The oxygen helps speed wound healing and reduces the risk of infection.