Advanced therapies heal slow-healing wounds

Customized care at Cayuga Center for Wound Healing helps patients recover

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Christina Morse, NP
Christina Morse, NP

Wounds that take longer than two to four weeks to heal can signal a potential health risk that requires medical treatment. While chronic, slow-healing wounds are often caused by diabetes and poor blood circulation, obesity, nutritional deficiencies and infections also play a role. Determining the cause for a chronic wound is the first step to beginning treatment and avoiding serious complications that can include amputation and death.

How do I know if I have a chronic wound?

Most wounds from minor injuries respond to periodic cleanings and dressing changes and make steady progress toward healing. If your wound is not healing at a steady rate, it could be infected or affected by another health condition. Wounds that take longer than a month to heal will likely have some complication that delays the healing process. If you have a persistent wound, call the Cayuga Center for Wound Healing to be evaluated as soon as possible.

What happens at the Cayuga Center for Wound Healing?

Our care team has special training in advanced wound care and includes three physicians, a nurse practitioner, who holds a Doctor of Nursing degree, and nurses experienced in wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Your wound will be thoroughly evaluated, the provider will ask you about your personal and family history, tests may be ordered, and referrals may be needed. We will develop a plan of care specific to you that will heal your wound as quickly as possible. We will also teach you how to care for your wound between visits. We work with you as a central part of your wound healing team.

What kinds of chronic wounds are most often treated?

Diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers such as bedsores, ulcers on the legs due to poor circulation, are among the wounds most frequently treated. Wounds with serious skin and bone infections, skin grafts that are failing and wounds caused by the late effects of radiation are also treated.

How are those conditions treated?

Treatments are tailored to the specific problems causing the wound. Insufficient blood flow can cause venous and arterial leg ulcers. Compression stockings, skin care, leg elevation, calf exercises and diet are used in treating venous ulcer wounds. For arterial leg ulcers, increasing the blood flow by surgery or angioplasty can promote healing. Appropriate antibiotics may be used to treat wounds due to infections. For pressure ulcer wounds, removing the pressure is essential before treatment can begin. Wound healing requires a team approach to care.

What advanced therapies are available?

One therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, uses a sealed wound dressing connected to a vacuum pump to promote healing. Another is skin substitutes, which promote growth factors to heal chronic wounds and applied during your routine wound visit. There are several varieties depending on the type and location of your wound. Additionally, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be considered and is available via a full-body chamber with pressurized oxygen. The clear-sided HBOT chambers at Cayuga Center for Wound Healing deliver 100 percent oxygen to improve healing while also having an adverse effect on bacteria. During the treatment, patients lie inside the chamber and may watch television or listen to music. Treatment sessions last about two hours and are scheduled for five days for 6 to 12 weeks. Decisions about care are made from clinical guidelines and your preference.

What should a patient look for when choosing a wound care center?

Look for a wound care center where every provider has training in advanced wound care. The center should follow proven clinical guidelines. The three physicians at the Cayuga Center for Wound Healing are board-certified in their fields of surgery and family medicine, while the center’s nurse practitioner also holds a doctorate in nursing. The center also has a certified diabetes educator, a certified wound ostomy nurse and a team of nurses with years of experience in wound care.

 

Dr. Christina Morse, NP, received her certifications as a family nurse practitioner from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. In 2016, she earned her doctorate in nursing practice from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. She works at the Cayuga Center for Wound Healing at Cayuga Medical Center, which also operates a clinic at Schuyler Hospital. To schedule an appointment at the Cayuga Center for Wound Healing, call (607) 274-4203.