Health Secondary Story

Why is Wound Care Important?

By Dr. Michael McGauleyBDCH Advanced Wound Center Medical Director

With the aging of the United States population and the increase in obesity and diabetes, there has been a growth in a specialized form of care for people who suffer from chronic non-healing wounds. Beaver Dam Community Hospital is now able to offer this type of advanced wound therapy.

Each year, there are between 1.1 million and 1.8 million new cases and approximately 8 million Americans suffering from chronic wounds. This costs us an estimated $20 billion dollars annually.  Other compelling statistics include:

  • 25.8 million Americans – 8.3 percent of the population – have Diabetes
  • 26.9 percent of people over 65 have Diabetes
  • 15 percent of all diabetics will develop chronic wounds
  • Patients with diabetes have a 10-fold increase in the risk of amputation –  approximately 70,000 diabetics will undergo an amputation each year
  • More than 2 million Americans suffer from venous ulcers
  • Acute care pressure ulcer prevalence averages 14 percent

For patients living with a chronic wound, everyday activities can be a battle. Without proper treatment patients may suffer for years without any improvement, or even worse, may face amputation.  While these numbers show the tremendous need for wound care, there is hope. Studies have shown that wound care treatment facilities have reduced amputation rates and shortened hospital stays.

There is hope for these types of patients. The Advanced Wound Center at Beaver Dam Community Hospital is offering an evidence-based pathway to care, employing the latest advances in wound care medicine. The proven process incorporates a multi-disciplinary panel of physicians, nurses and technicians. Oftentimes, the amount of care required for desirable outcomes surpasses the resources that any single physician can provide.

Wound healing is achieved with cooperation with referring physicians, surgeons, podiatrists and other specialists as required. Hyperbaric medicine, bioengineered skin substitutes, and vacuum assisted closures are just a few of the sophisticated techniques available.

Some of the following wound types that can be treated are:

  • Diabetic Foot ulcers (DFU)
  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Leg Ulcers, venous insufficiency
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Radiation tissue damage
  • Post-operative wounds
  • Wounds secondary to infection
  • Complex soft tissue wounds
  • Arterial ulcers

One of the important advances that the Advanced Wound Center is offering is the use of Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).  HBOT is a daily treatment in which a patient breathes 100% oxygen at pressure greater than normal pressure in a hyperbaric chamber.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) systematically delivers 100% oxygen at pressures 2-3 times normal atmospheric pressure. This blast of oxygen promotes new blood vessel growth, is toxic to many types of bacteria and increases the effectiveness of antibiotics.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is approved by Medicare for its use in treating the following types of wounds.

  • Diabetic wounds of lower extremity
  • Radiation tissue damage of bone and soft tissue
  • Certain types of infections
  • Certain traumatic injuries, i.e. crush injury
  • Failing surgical grafts or flaps

If the patient meets certain criteria, Medicare will reimburse hospitals and providers for treatment using hyperbaric oxygen therapy, (HBOT).  Many commercial payers will also reimburse for HBOT and may even reimburse for the enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds.

For more information on BDCH’s Advanced Wound Center, please call (920) 887-5990.

A board-certified surgeon, Dr. Michael McGauley received his D.O. from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and completed his general surgery rotating internship and residency both at Garden City Osteopathic Hospital.  Over the past several years, Dr. McGauley has provided BDCH patients with general surgical services including endoscopy, minimally-invasive laparascopic procedures, varicose veins treatment, as well as other surgical options for patients with Barrett’s Esophagus and GERD.

Share with your friends and family.