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Treating Diabetic Wounds and Helping them Heal Quicker

Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Treating Diabetic Wounds and Helping them Heal Quicker

Posted on: June 9th, 2022 by Jason Miller No Comments

At Encompass Healthcare, Dr. Bruce Ruben and his team of wound doctors treat diabetic wounds on a daily basis.

We see a lot of different types of non-healing wounds from patients with Diabetes and we’re asked how to help these wounds heal (and how to help diabetic wounds heal quicker). Here are some treatment processes you can do at home to ensure these wounds do not become bigger health concerns.

First, and very importantly, find any cuts you have, including scrapes, and treat these wounds immediately.

If you treat new wounds right away, you can start caring for them before things get bad.

As soon as you find a cut or sore:

+Wash your hands with soap and water.
+Rinse off the wound with warm water.
+Apply pressure to stop any bleeding.
+Apply antibiotic cream and cover with a bandage.

Also, if you don’t know you have a wound, you can’t treat it quickly. So if you suffer from neuropathy, keep an eye out for new wounds. Check your hands and feet daily, and don’t forget to check between your toes.

Wearing white athletic socks can help, too. If you see a red spot or a place where your sock is sticking to your skin, check your foot to see if you have a wound that’s new or not healing.

Take pressure off the area – if your wound continues to reopen or experience damage, it won’t heal quickly and may get much worse. So avoid putting stress, pressure and weight on wounds.

It can be difficult for some wounds like ones on your feet. If you need help, talk to your doctor about ways to protect your wounds while maintaining mobility. Special shoes and customized foot padding are common options.

Keep your wound clean and covered with the right dressings

Wounds heal best when they are clean and moist. So it’s important to get them clean and covered right away. If you have a new scrape or cut, a basic bandage and antibiotic cream should work just fine.

But if you have wounds that are infected, slow healing or more serious, make an appointment with a doctor to learn what the best wound care is for you. Your doctor will likely recommend different types of diabetic wound care dressings to protect the injury and promote healing.

 

Common types of dressings for diabetic wound care:

Foam dressings – Extremely soft and absorbent, foam dressings are used for wounds that leak or ooze a lot. They also offer added cushioning which can help protect the wound against physical damage.

Alginate dressing – These types of dressings are primarily made from seaweed. They can hold up to twenty times their weight in moisture, making them a great choice for deep wounds and ones with discharge. Another advantage of alginate dressings is that they prevent the growth of new bacteria.

Hydrogel dressings – Hydrogel is a water-based gel designed to keep an area moist. If your wound is dry or covered in dead skin, your doctor may recommend a hydrogel dressing to provide moisture. This can help break down dead tissue and promote cell growth. These types of dressings usually aren’t used for infected wounds.

What happens if diabetic sores or wounds are left untreated?

Wounds tend to heal more quickly with care and attention. But when you live with diabetes, everyday wounds are more likely to turn serious when they stick around for too long.

 

Foot ulcers or wounds

If foot wounds are left untreated, they may turn into foot ulcers, which are often called diabetic foot sores. About 20-25% of people with diabetes will get a foot ulcer at some point in their life.

Here’s how foot ulcers develop:

  1. The foot forms a callus.
  2. The callus receives ongoing damage. Most often, this happens when a person has neuropathy and can’t feel when their foot is hurt.
  3. Since the damaged callus isn’t treated when it should be, the skin erodes, leading to an ulcer.

Most foot ulcers are on the ball of your foot, often near your big toe. A foot ulcer looks like a red sore. If there’s pus and the wound smells badly, it may be infected.

If you have a foot ulcer, you should talk to your doctor. If it’s infected, you should make an appointment with your primary care doctor as soon as possible.

Foot ulcers can take a long time to heal – about three months – and you’ll need to check in frequently with a doctor to make sure that the healing process stays on track. In some cases, you may need special shoes to reduce pressure on the wound.

While this may all seem like a lot of work, there’s a reason to stick with it. If your foot ulcer doesn’t heal, it can turn into something more serious, possibly even the loss of a limb.

Gangrene – Gangrene occurs when body tissue dies – Fortunately, this condition isn’t common. But it’s something to watch for, because it can cause serious issues if not caught and treated early.

Gangrene often begins with an infected wound. It usually starts in a certain area like a finger or toe, and then can spread over time. If the infection remains untreated for too long, the surrounding tissues can start to die.

 

Signs to watch for include:

  • A reddish line around the wound, becomes black
  • Loss of sensation around the wound
  • Skin that has turned an unusual color, such as red, blue, bronze or greenish-black
  • Wounds that repeatedly reappear in the same place

If you think you have gangrene, you should get medical help right away. Your doctor will remove the affected tissue and repair the area, possibly with a skin graft. Infection will be treated with antibiotics.

If gangrene isn’t treated soon enough, the result can be amputation. The doctor may need to remove a finger or a toe to keep the gangrene from spreading – and if there’s a lot of dead tissue, they may need to remove an arm or leg. In some cases, gangrene can be fatal, so make sure to get treatment at the earliest sign of this condition.

 

Osteomyelitis – Infected wounds can infect your bones, causing a condition called osteomyelitis. If bone infections aren’t treated, parts of your bones can die. Symptoms to look for include:

  1. Fever
  2. Swelling and redness
  3. Skin that’s hot to the touch
  4. Pain or tenderness
  5. Yellowish pus coming through your skin

If you think you have a bone infection, make an appointment with your primary care doctor. There are effective treatments for osteomyelitis, but they work best when the infection is caught early.

Encompass Healthcare and Wound Medicine offers advanced treatments for severe and chronic diabetic wounds.

Now Available: IV Drip & Vitamin Bar in West Bloomfield, Michigan

Posted on: May 31st, 2022 by Jason Miller No Comments

Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan is very excited to announce the opening of its brand new IV Drip & Vitamin Bar. The Encompass IV Drip & Vitamin Bar will offer our patients an all-natural, vitamin-based, organically-based compounds* to address everything from hydration, fatigue, fat-burning, energy-boosting, metabolism-boosting, acne, wrinkles, tired-looking skin, bloating, abdominal discomfort, lower back pain, sports recovery, chronic fatigue, migraines, asthma, fibromyalgia, stress & more.
(*organic tapioca is the base for our Vitamin C which is found in almost all of our IV Drip formulations.)

All of the customized Encompass vitamin drips contain a sterile saline solution to ensure delivery of nutrients directly into your bloodstream, rehydrating your body and ensuring 100% absorption!

To celebrate the launch of the Encompass IV Drip & Vitamin Bar, we are offering an additional 85-minute hyperbaric oxygen session for only $500 (for a limited time only)

At Encompass HealthCare, our physician-supervised NEW IV DRIP & VITAMIN BAR IS DESIGNED FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS to enhance your wellbeing and longevity!

Encompass IV and Vitamin Bar

 

Know the Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Posted on: April 28th, 2022 by Jason Miller No Comments

Dr. Bruce Ruben of Encompass HelathCare & Wound Medicine in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield, Michigan, is one of the nation’s foremost experts on the medical power of HBOT — Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

“From my experience, hyperbaric oxygen therapy speeds up the healing process several times faster than a normal course of treatment,” Ruben explained. “HBOT reduces swelling and increases blood flow to fight off infections.”

Dr. Ruben created the Encompass medical facility to accommodate quadriplegics, paraplegics, and wheelchair/disabled patients. It has automated door entries, four-foot-tall countertops and coat hooks, a roll-in shower, a lift system, off-loading exam tables and a gurney. The open feeling in the office allows patients to easily see Dr. Ruben and the staff and to enjoy an “open” feeling.

Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy uses a special chamber that is pressurized with 100% pure oxygen to get high levels of oxygen into your body. The high concentration exceeds by as much as ten times the level of oxygen that can be carried to a non-healing wound by blood alone. When utilized as a medical therapy, oxygen therapy in high doses can help heal damaged organs, promote the healing of chronic wounds and save lives in certain conditions.

hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy-chamber-west bloomfield-michigan

5 benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy

✔️ Increases oxygenation to the body’s tissues
✔️ Increase blood flow and circulation
✔️ Boosts white blood cell counts
✔️ Enhances the effectiveness of antibiotics
✔️ Reduce swelling and pain
✔️ Effectively treats selected non-healing wounds and infections
✔️Promotes the growth of new tissue
✔️Decreases swelling and inflammation
✔️Deactivates toxins thereby increasing the body’s ability to fight infection.

Dr. Ruben explains that Hyperbaric Therapy can also clear out toxins and metabolic waste products from the body.

Dr. Ruben is the founder and Medical Director of Encompass HealthCare. He is Board Certified in Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine.  He is one of only a handful of physicians to be board-certified in Michigan and serves all of Oakland, Wayne  Livingston and Washtenaw Counties. Our outpatient facility, located on the border of West Bloomfield, Walled Lake and Commerce township, is just minutes from Farmington, Farmington Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Troy, Southfield, Berkley, Brighton and Detroit.

Improving Holistic Assessment of Chronic Wounds

Posted on: March 20th, 2022 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Improving holistic assessment of chronic wounds

This recent UK study encourages wound care doctors to improve the holistic assessment of chronic wounds. This is something that Dr. Bruce Ruben at Encompass HealthCare has been doing for years. The full study is available online. Here is the beginning of it:

Improving holistic assessment of chronic wounds is a vital area of current focus. The new Wounds UK Best Practice Statement (Improving holistic assessment of chronic wounds, free to download from the Wounds UK site) emphasizes the need for wide-ranging assessment that considers the impact of all aspects of the patient’s health and wellbeing on the healing process, resisting the temptation to make the wound the sole focus. The document aims to support best practices and ensure that thorough, holistic assessment leads to improved outcomes (Wounds UK, 2018). This should be based around a structured system, such as the CASE wound assessment framework.

Large and increasing numbers of patients in the UK are living with a chronic wound, and it is predicted that the prevalence of chronic wounds will increase at a rate of 12% per year due to delayed healing (Guest et al, 2017).

Assessment has been identified as a key focus for improving wound care practice. The Commission for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) has introduced an indicator based on assessment, aiming to specifically improve care. This is one of 13 indicators for 2017—2019, with the goal ‘to increase the number of full wound assessments for wounds which have failed to heal after 4 weeks’ (NHS England, 2016). The implementation of this indicator links rates of wound assessment with funding payments. In doing so, this practice aims to improve wound assessment and overall care standards.

Patient involvement and empowerment play a key role in optimizing treatment and improving patient experiences. Encouraging patients to self-care and be involved in their treatment has been shown to improve outcomes (Wounds International, 2016).

Why Encompass HealthCare uses Mechanical Venous Ablation

Posted on: February 19th, 2022 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Biological ablation is defined as the removal of a biological structure or functionality. Venous ablation, in particular, is a procedure used by physicians to shut down poorly performing veins that leak blood and fluids into the soft tissues of legs. Such leaking is the primary cause of chronic swelling, redness, heaviness, and sores that won’t heal. Thus, ablation of just a few identified, culprit veins will reverse all of these symptoms and heal the long-standing sore.

The methods that are available today for providing ablation of these veins are all minimally invasive and are performed in the physician’s office; however, patients should be aware that the level of pain associated with the procedure varies. For example, the most painful ablation techniques use laser and radiofrequency, which “burns” the vein on the interior of the leg. In order to complete this specific technique, the introduction of multiple, separate injections of lidocaine-filled fluid around the vein is required. As a result, the vein is ablated and the surrounding soft tissues are prevented from burning. OUCH!

What’s worse, radiofrequency and laser procedures carry the risk of causing irreversible damage, and even accidental burning, to important sensory nerves; yet, with Clarivein, this is not a risk. In fact, we have seen that the benefits of the radiofrequency and laser procedures are present with Clarivein, but the risky outcomes are not. Therefore, a lack of medical awareness is the only reason one would choose radiofrequency or laser procedures over the much less painful and risky Clarivein.

At Encompass Healthcare we use Clarivein, a mechanical venous ablation procedure.

This procedure typically requires no more than a single needle inserted into the targeted leg vein under ultrasound guidance, much like a typical lab draw at your doctors’ office. Guided by ultrasound, a catheter is threaded along the length of the interior vein and withdrawn while simultaneously creating a painless, inner vein injury in order to cause vein contraction, and thus ablation.

In general, venous ablation is a procedure which is considered only after other conservative measures have failed. Bruce Ruben, M.D., our Medical Director will often try compression bandaging like unna boots, pneumatic compression pumps, or multi-layer compression wrapping first. These methods are more akin to wrapping a leaking pipe with duct tape; however, it may just be enough to heal a non-healing wound without resorting to the vein ablation procedure. At Encompass Healthcare, each patient is always given the full range of appropriate options.

So, you’re probably wondering what sorts of results we’ve seen with this venous ablation procedure, right? Great news! Patient outcomes after receiving a mechanical venous ablation with Dr. Ruben are very impressive. When treated for a non-healing, venous stasis leg wound, Dr. Ruben’s patients healed completely within 4 weeks!

If a patient or loved you know might be a candidate for venous ablation, give us a call. We can set up a consult in our comfortable and safe outpatient office and determine the best course of action for the patient’s healing process!

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helped Football Great Joe Namath

Posted on: February 7th, 2022 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

As an NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback and Super Bowl MVP, Joe Namath had it all. His exceptional performance on the field and natural charisma turned him into a pop culture icon known as “Broadway Joe.”

But Joe didn’t emerge from his football career unscathed. He suffered at least five concussions—the “lights out, smelling salts” kind, Joe said on the June 24, 2019, Howard Stern radio show.

He didn’t really think much about it until the 2000s at his football camp when he saw how gridiron head injuries were affecting one of his former teammates. “I saw a teammate of mine deteriorating over a period of four years,” Joe says. “His mind, he was losing it, he’d forget things. It scared him.”

At the football camp the following year, the teammate was even worse. It was a wake-up call for Joe. “It dawned on me, I said I need to find out about myself. It behooves me, Joe, to find out about myself. And it behooves me to do it for my children.”

What a Brain Scan Revealed About Joe Namath’s Brain
Joe reached out to a hospital in Florida where he lives and underwent a brain imaging test called SPECT, which measures blood flow and brain activity. SPECT shows three things—areas of the brain with healthy activity, too much activity, or not enough activity. SPECT differs from MRI or CT scans, which show structural damage to the brain but do not reveal how the brain is functioning. In fact, in many people who have suffered a head injury, MRI and CT scans will appear normal even when there is functional damage to the brain. Because SPECT looks at brain function, it is the best tool to detect functional damage.

Joe Namath’s SPECT scan revealed that all those concussions on the field had taken a toll on his brain. The brain scan showed evidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with low activity in some areas. “With that SPECT scan, they could see the cells on the left side of my head from the forehead back were not getting blood. They were darker than the rest of the other cells,” Joe says.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helped Joe Namath’s Brain
As part of a treatment plan to rehabilitate his brain, Joe began doing hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). HBOT is a non-invasive treatment that involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber. With HBOT, your lungs can take in up to 3 times more oxygen than they do when breathing at normal air pressure. The increased oxygen is picked up via the bloodstream and transported to damaged tissues to facilitate the healing process. HBOT has been used to improve many issues, including TBI, PTSD, memory loss, anxiety and depression, attention problems, and other mental health issues.

After 40 sessions, Joe went back for a follow-up SPECT scan, which showed the dark areas of his brain with low blood flow had started to lighten up, a sign of improved blood flow. He continued with 40 more sessions and then a final 40 sessions. His follow-up brain scan after all 120 HBOT sessions stunned him. His brain “looked normal all over,” he says.

Since then, Joe has made it his mission to spread the word about the benefits of SPECT brain imaging and hyperbaric oxygen therapy through the Joe Namath Neurological Research Center at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida. “This could help millions,” he says, such as “the veterans alone that get concussions, the children that fall off bicycles and hit their head.”

Although Joe Namath was not treated at Amen Clinics, we have used brain SPECT imaging and hyperbaric oxygen therapy to help treat numerous former NFL players and thousands of other people with TBI. In fact, 40 percent of our patients have had TBIs, including mild ones where you don’t pass out. Many of our patients who have undergone HBOT have experienced a dramatic improvement in cerebral blood flow. Benefits they have reported include improved memory, moods, cognition, and sleep, as well as reduced depression, irritability, and headaches.

If you would like more information on hyperbaric oxygen therapy, contact Dr. Bruce Ruben at Encompass Healthcare in West Bloomfield, Michigan.

New Material Treats Wounds and Can Protect Against Bacteria

Posted on: January 19th, 2022 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have developed a new material that prevents infections in wounds — a specially designed hydrogel, that works against all types of bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant ones. The new material offers great hope for combating a growing global problem.

The World Health Organization describes antibiotic-resistant bacteria as one of the greatest threats to global health. To deal with the problem, there needs to be a shift in the way we use antibiotics, and new, sustainable medical technologies must be developed.

 

wound-care_michigan_detroit

 

“After testing our new hydrogel on different types of bacteria, we observed a high level of effectiveness, including against those which have become resistant to antibiotics,” says Martin Andersson, research leader for the study and Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology.

Research and development of the material has been ongoing for many years at Martin Andersson’s group at Chalmers, growing in scope along the way, with a particular focus on the possibilities for wound care. Now, the important results are published as a scientific article in the journal ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

The main purpose of the studies so far has been to explore new medical technology solutions to help reduce the use of systemic antibiotics. Resistant bacteria cause what is referred to as hospital-acquired infection — a life-threatening condition and is increasing in incidence worldwide.

Mimicking the natural immune system

The active substance in the new bactericidal material consists of antimicrobial peptides, small proteins which are found naturally in our immune system.

“With these types of peptides, there is a very low risk for bacteria to develop resistance against them, since they only affect the outermost membrane of the bacteria. That is perhaps the foremost reason why they are so interesting to work with,” says Martin Andersson.

Researchers have long tried to find ways to use these peptides in medical devices, but so far without much success. The problem is that they break down quickly when they come into contact with bodily fluids such as blood. The current study describes how the researchers managed to overcome the problem through the development of a nanostructured hydrogel, into which the peptides are permanently bound, creating a protective environment.

“The material is very promising. It is harmless to the body’s own cells and gentle on the skin. In our measurements, the protective effect of the hydrogel on the antimicrobial peptides is clear — the peptides degrade much slower when they are bound to it,” says Edvin Blomstrand, doctoral student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers, and one of the main authors of the article.

“We expected good results, but we were really positively surprised at quite how effective the material has proven,” adds Martin Andersson.

According to the researchers, this new material is the first medical device to make successful use of antimicrobial peptides in a clinically and commercially viable manner. There are many varied and promising opportunities for clinical application.

Startup company Amferia takes the research from lab to market

In recent years, foundational research into the antimicrobial peptide hydrogel has run in parallel with commercial development of the innovation through the spin-off company Amferia AB.

The company was founded in 2018 by Martin Andersson together with Saba Atefyekta and Anand Kumar Rajasekharan, who both defended their dissertations at Chalmers’ Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

The material and the idea, which is currently developed as an antibacterial wound patch, has generated interest around the world, attracting significant investment and receiving several awards. The company is working intensively to get the material to market so that it can benefit wider society.

Before the new material can benefit hospitals and patients, clinical studies are needed, which are ongoing. A CE marking of the material is expected to be completed in 2022. Furthermore, the wound patch version of the new material is undergoing trials in veterinary care, for treating pets. The company Amferia AB is already collaborating with a number of veterinary clinics around Europe where the hydrogel is now being tested.

“Amferia has recently entered into a strategic partnership with Sweden’s largest distributor of premium medical & diagnostic devices to jointly launch these wound care products for the Swedish veterinary market during 2021” says Martin Andersson.

More about antimicrobial peptides and the new material

The beneficial properties of antimicrobial peptides have been known for some decades, and thousands of different varieties occurring in the natural immune systems of humans, animals and plants have been discovered. Researchers have long tried to mimic and use their natural function to prevent and treat infections without having to use traditional antibiotics. However, because the peptides are broken down as soon as they come in contact with blood or other body fluids, successful clinical usage has proved elusive. The researchers knew that smart new solutions were needed to protect the peptide from degradation. The new material in the study has been shown to work very well, allowing the peptides to be applied directly to wounds and injuries on the body, with the effect of both preventing and treating infection. The material is also non-toxic, so it can be used directly on the skin. The potential of this new material can also be seen in the flexibility that it offers for different types of products.

“So far, we have mainly envisioned the material as a wound care dressing, but we are working on a new study investigating the potential for a wound care spray,” says Edvin Blomstrand.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Chalmers University of Technology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Saba Atefyekta, Edvin Blomstrand, Anand K. Rajasekharan, Sara Svensson, Margarita Trobos, Jaan Hong, Thomas J. Webster, Peter Thomsen, Martin Andersson. Antimicrobial Peptide-Functionalized Mesoporous Hydrogels. ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering, 2021; 7 (4): 1693 DOI: 10.1021/acsbiomaterials.1c00029

A Hospital-Type Environment with Hospital-Level Equipment, Without the Risks Of Being In the Hospital

Posted on: October 11th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan is Metro Detroit’s only full-service wound healing & infection facility, offering patients everything possible for healing under one roof. Dr. Bruce Ruben launched Encompass HealthCare to offer patients a hospital-type environment with hospital-level equipment, without the risks of being in the hospital.

Wound Care News explains why it’s safer and overall better to visit a wound-care specialist like Dr. Bruce Ruben at Encompass HealthCare than going to a hospital. This is especially true during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

If you’re one of the 6.7 million Americans living with a chronic wound, you may well be referred to a wound care specialist for treatment. In this article, we’ll explore when you should see a wound care specialist, why proper wound care is so vitally important, and how specialist treatment can reduce the risk of complications and encourage a speedy recovery.

While most primary care physicians are qualified to treat a straightforward wound, resulting from a day-to-day injury, they may not be the right person to deal with a complex or non-healing wound. In addition to the usual medical training, wound care specialists undergo a rigorous three-year wound care program and written exam. They are, therefore, uniquely qualified in the most sophisticated treatments, techniques, and technologies to help patients recover more quickly from serious wounds.

To maintain their status, wound care specialists also have to secure continuing education credits and periodically requalify for certification. As a result, a qualified wound care professional will be up to date with the latest developments and research into wound care.

During your first visit, your wound care specialist will conduct a thorough diagnostic analysis of your wound, including the cause of the wound and any issues that might be obstructing your healing. You will then be given a customized treatment plan that takes into account your case history and the type of wound, your ability to comply with particular treatments (for instance, physical therapy), and any additional treatments you might require. You will then be scheduled for a series of visits with your wound care specialists, during which your healing will be evaluated, and your treatment modified.

Not every wound needs specialist treatment. In most cases, a simple wound that results from an injury can be treated by a primary healthcare provider. More serious wounds may require treatment in the hospital, followed by recovery at home. And, of course, if you see any signs that the wound is infected, such as redness, increased pain, a bad smell, fever, or swelling, you should call your doctor immediately.

However, certain kinds of wounds are more likely to need specialist treatment. For instance, complex wounds such as vascular ulcers, diabetic ulcers, radiation wounds, various types of traumatic injury, and some post-operative wounds may benefit from treatment in a wound care center.

There are also health conditions that may make it harder for your wound to heal. These include:

  • Diabetes

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Vascular disease

  • Incontinence

  • Severe obesity

  • Renal failure

  • Nerve damage

Certain lifestyle issues may also prevent wound healing. For instance, a poor diet, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, and being inactive may also impede your recovery from a wound.

In general, if your wound has not started to heal after 2 weeks, or has not healed completely within 6 weeks, then you should consider visiting a wound care specialist.

For many patients, treatment by a wound care specialist can have a dramatic positive impact on their recovery and quality of life. The key benefits of specialized wound care treatment include:

Unlike a regular clinician, a wound care specialist has the knowledge to develop an individualized treatment based on your specific wound, health issues, clinical history, and personal preferences. They will then develop a care plan using this information, to help speed your recovery and healing.

Because the plan has been designed specifically for you, you are more likely to be able and willing to follow it. For instance, a specialist wound care professional could recommend the kinds of dressings that you will be most comfortable with, or take your current mobility into consideration when making recommendations about physical therapy. By contrast, a non-specialist might recommend a more standardized approach that could be harder for you to comply with.

The incorrect treatment of a wound can be potentially catastrophic. For instance, diabetic foot ulcers are the most common cause of diabetes-related amputations—infected or non-healing ulcers can result in the patient losing a foot or the whole lower part of the leg.

Long-term non-healing wounds are particularly prone to infection. Infections such as MRSA can enter the bloodstream via the wound, resulting in serious illnesses. In the most severe cases, infections can lead to sepsis, a potentially fatal medical condition triggered by the body’s immune response.

Working with a wound specialist is the best way to make sure that your wound receives the most effective treatment. A customized wound care program will be designed to approach your wound healing from multiple angles, such as increasing your circulation, reducing pain, and creating the best environment to promote recovery.

Wound care centers have access to the latest wound care treatments and technologies that may not be available in a primary healthcare facility. Advanced treatments that may be helpful in treating non-healing or complex wounds include:

  • Wound Vac Therapy

Vacuum-assisted wound closure, also known as Wound Vac treatment, involves using a vacuum pump to create negative pressure to seal a foam bandage over an open wound. The pressure pulls the edges of the wound together, promoting healing by reducing swelling, stimulating tissue growth, and preventing infections.

  • Ultrasound

Ultrasound treatment uses sound waves to encourage healing, reduce inflammation and pain, and increase circulation and soft tissue mobility.

  • Growth Factor Therapy

Growth factors are chemicals naturally secreted in the body that encourage cell growth. Growth factor therapy involves applying growth factors directly to the wound to promote the growth of wound-healing cells.

In general, wound care specialists take a more proactive, aggressive approach to wound treatment, based on the latest medical findings. For non-healing wounds, frequent debridement (removal of dead tissue) and more active medical interventions may reduce the time to heal and improve the patient’s comfort level.

Perhaps one of the most important roles of the wound specialist is to educate both the patient and their family about how to care for the wound and manage the process of healing. For those with chronic or severe wounds, recovery can be a slow and grueling process. A wound care specialist can offer advice about managing the emotional aspects of recovery, making the best lifestyle choices to promote healing, understanding your wound and how to care for it as it heals, and transitioning safely and easily to self-care.

Above all, our staff treats everyone like family. That’s the Encompass difference!

Vanderbilt Football Program Leads COVID-19 Adjustments

Posted on: March 8th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised complications across many aspects of our lives, causing us to make constant and sometimes unprecedented adjustments to our daily routines. As a nation and as a human race, we’ve all been dealt a similar hand this year – and the card we’ve all had in common is the risk of COVID-19. The way we separate ourselves is how we deal with this situation we are all in! Some of us have chosen to keep pushing through, to persevere, to stay positive, and this is such an incredible thing to see.

One example of this which has inspired us, in particular, is that of Vanderbilt University’s Football Program. What a show of leadership, perseverance, and determination! In case you hadn’t heard, Vanderbilt’s football team was recently faced with several players being infected with COVID-19 all at once, leaving them with a shortened roster and no kicker. They decided to ask a member of the Vanderbilt Women’s Soccer team, Sarah Fuller, to play as their kicker in games this season. And she said yes!

It’s important to note that Sarah Fuller is now the first female to ever play for a Power 5 college football team. Sarah is also just the third female to compete in the FBS, the highest level of college football. The other two athletes in this group were also kickers. Sarah Fuller has been named a Special Teams Player of the Week for her great performance in her first game with the Commodores. Congratulations Sarah Fuller! Way to persevere!

And to the Vanderbilt Football program, coaching staff, and entire team, way to persevere! We commend you on your refusal to quit, and your determination to find a way to get the job done! In such difficult times, it is important that we still do all we can and show ourselves and others that even in hardship or the face of adversity, we can still be great and have some fun along the way.

 

How Telemedicine Might Be Enhancing the American Healthcare System

Posted on: February 24th, 2021 by Encompass Healthcare No Comments

Since the start of technology being so mobile and active in our everyday lives, the American healthcare system has utilized it to enhance the patient experience. Mandy medical offices use tablets instead of clipboards and paper to check patients in, medical records are now kept in online databases instead of paper charts, patients check doctor’s websites for the hours and available services rather than making a phone call or stopping by. The use of technology in medicine started small, yes. But now we’re looking at an almost industry-wide embrace of technology for the safety of patients and staff! And this shift even has its own catchy name, telemedicine!

 

Chances are, you’ve heard the term telemedicine. Especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become a very common term, describing the use of technology, phone calls, instant messaging, image sharing, or video calls to deliver medical consultation and care. It isn’t a tough concept to understand, but it’s changing the way we handle patient care.

 

Telemedicine is increasing the accessibility of physicians, specialists, and other healthcare professionals. Patients with disabilities, susceptible immune systems, or remote locations probably benefit the most from these technological advances, but in total, it seems to be improving the availability of care for all patients! Patients can now receive test results and imagery quicker than ever. The lab results or scans can be saved and sent via digital file and then interpreted by a medical physician over a phone call to the patient. Patient portals make medical records, bills, and past treatments accessible to patients 24/7.

 

One more recently popular addition to telemedicine is video conferencing between providers and patients. Patients who can’t make it into the office or hospital can video chat with their doctors, allowing them to feel more like they’re speaking face-to-face and allowing for more engagement than a phone call. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this feature has been very helpful for many physicians, healthcare providers, and especially for patients trying to limit exposure and risk. Patients who had tested positive for the virus were often asked to stay home and conduct their follow up appointments through telemedicine if they did not have to be hospitalized. Other patients who might have still been healthy, felt safer staying home than traveling to a doctors office where there might have been an opportunity for infection or exposure. Either way, providers offering telemedicine are helping mitigate risk.

 

Overall, we’ve found telemedicine to have a lot of positive changes, but in case you’re playing devil’s advocate, here’s a pros and cons list.

 

Pros:

  1. Immobile patients, patients with disabilities and those with great distance from healthcare providers can receive care more easily.
  2. Patients can easily contact providers for emergent situations.
  3. Diagnosis and Treatment Plans can be carried out quicker.
  4. Providers can keep their patients and staff members safer by keeping contagious patients at home while they receive care.
  5. Enables patients to have rehabilitation and treatment in their own home.
  6. Patients enjoy their privacy at home and get care at their convenience.

 

Cons:

  1. Smaller facilities and practices may not be able to keep up with technological advances even though they’re providing excellent care for their patients.
  2. Some patients may not feel comfortable using technology or may not have access to the necessary devices.
  3. Providers in some states may have issues billing insurances for telemedicine consults.
  4. Possible care delays, since life-saving care or laboratory tests, cannot be taken digitally.

 

If you or someone you know has participated in telemedicine, either as the patient or the provider, let us know. We’re interested in how things are turning out and how all parties are adjusting to this new phase in healthcare.

 

If you have questions about what services are available at Encompass HealthCare & Wound Medicine, you should contact our front desk or visit our website.

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