This is Wound Care Awareness Week and X101 spoke with Kelly Johnson, RN, clinical nurse manager at the Cortland Regional Medical Center’s Wound Care Center.
She explained why there’s more of an emphasis in recent years on caring for chronic wounds.
“Diabetes is on the rise, so that puts you at increased risk for wounds,” said Johnson. “Increased smoking creates an increased risk of arterial wounds and those are all factors into having a very hard to heal wound or a chronic wound.”
Johnson points out that for diabetics, several factors make a wound hard to heal.
“Decreased circulation, so the wound isn’t getting the oxygen that it needs to heal, and also, increased risk of infection. Patients just can’t heal as well from having an infection.”
She advises diabetes patients to check their feet daily for wounds, maintain blood sugar control and see their doctor regularly to avoid the fate of many who face amputation.
“We’re trying to prevent that at all costs,” said Johnson. “If a patient has an amputation, it dramatically increases their risk for having another amputation further up or even death. That’s our main goal to prevent amputations here at our wound care center.”
CRMC’s Wound Care Center offers advanced therapies for patients suffering from chronic wounds.
“If you have a wound, getting to either your primary care physician and having them refer you to us or you can call us directly to set up an appointment here at the Wound Care Clinic and we can take a peek at the wound.”
Johnson points to advanced care, advanced dressings, and a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber (photo, right) that are available as needed.
You may not have heard the latest advances in Wound Care, which include skin replacement, using traditional methods.
“In skin grafting, they take your own skin and surgically place it in another part of your body,” she said.
There are newer treatments available: “In skin substitutes, a lot of these are from amniotic cells that are refined into a skin substitute that we put on your wounds to help with the healing,” said Johnson.
Johnson says several different types of replacements are available along with advanced dressings.
It is estimated that chronic wounds affect 6.7 million people in the U.S.
This week is dedicated to educating physicians, patients and the general public about the chronic wound epidemic as well as the innovative, advanced wound care solutions.
Visit www.woundcareawarenessweek.com to learn more about Wound Care Awareness Week and to hear from patients about how wound healing changed their life.
Link: CRMC Wound Care Center
The Cortland Regional Wound Care Center
4005 West Road (Route 281)
Cortland, New York