Time May Not Heal All Wounds; Saint Joseph-Berea Opens New Healing Center

Everyone has heard that time heals all wounds, but the truth is that without advanced therapies, some wounds can take years and even decades to heal while others that do not respond to treatment may lead to amputation in extreme cases. On April 26, Saint Joseph - Berea opened the Saint Joseph Wound Center to offer the community state-of-the-art specialized wound healing care.

Berea, KY, April 28, 2010 --(PR.com)-- "With the rising rate of diabetes, there is a great need for a specialized care center that can treat the ulcers associated with the disease as well as help patients with other skin, bone and tissue conditions caused by illness or injury," says Greg Gerard, president of Saint Joseph - Berea. "The center's doctors and clinical staff are skilled in the latest therapeutic methods in wound management and stay abreast of leading information through continuous training. Patients will be treated with state-of-the art technology from having their progress charted through digital photographs to, in some cases, being treated in the Center’s hyperbaric oxygen chamber."

To establish the center, Saint Joseph - Berea partnered with Florida-based National Healing Corporation, which manages wound healing centers nationwide with an average healing rate of 80 percent attained in 12 to16 weeks of therapy. Although the centers treat patients with chronic and advanced conditions that have not responded to previous therapies, the rate of limb amputation for non-responsive wounds is less than two percent.

Bridgitte Breitner, program director of Saint Joseph Wound Center explained, "We developed a methodology that has established an impressive record of healing wounds that others thought hopeless. After performing a full diagnosis on a patient's first visit, we take photographs of the wound at each subsequent visit to evaluate the therapy's progress. Our treatments are evidence based and best practice driven meaning our patients do not undergo any treatment or progress to a new level of treatment until the need is clearly indicated."

Likely candidates for treatment are those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps, and wounds that haven't healed within 30 days. The center's hyperbaric oxygen chamber can also be used to treat patients suffering from such uncommon ailments as cyanide poisoning, gangrene, carbon monoxide poisoning, brown recluse spider bites and the “bends,” or decompression sickness.

Patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans may self-refer to Saint Joseph Wound Center. However, one of the center's missions is to build relationships with patients' primary care physicians.

"We become a partner in the patient's medical care," said Dr. Mary Ellen Shields, general surgeon, who serves as medical director at the center. "While we dedicate our efforts to healing the patient's wound, the primary care physician is free to focus on treating the underlying cause or disease. Through regular reports and phone calls, we work with the patient’s doctors and other experts in the program to develop a total approach to treatment and care."

One of the highly specialized treatments offered at the center is hyperbaric oxygen therapy which works by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen at higher than normal atmospheric pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen in the patient's blood and, in the case of wounds, allows red blood cells to pass more easily through the plasma into the wound to heal it from the inside out. Diabetic foot wounds are an excellent example of wounds that may benefit most from this type of treatment.

Relaxing on a bed encased within a large see-through plastic shell, patients can watch movies on televisions and VCR players mounted above the chamber while hearing the movies and conversing with others outside the chamber through a speaker system. The only physical sensation resulting from the treatment is a slight pressure on the eardrum, such as that felt when a plane lands, as the air in the chamber is compressed.

In addition to tissue oxygenation, Saint Joseph Wound Center also employs the use of vascular studies, tissue culturing and pathology, revascularization, skin grafting, and clinical or surgical debridement.

For more information, call Saint Joseph Wound Center at 859.986.6755 located at Saint Joseph – Berea, 305 Estill Street, Berea, Ky.

About Saint Joseph Wound Center
Saint Joseph Wound Center specializes in the treatment of chronic wounds and non-responsive conditions and offers hospital-based outpatient wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as lymphedema and diabetes care. Saint Joseph Wound Center has two convenient locations: Saint Joseph – Berea in Berea, Ky and Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Ky.

About National Healing Corporation
Founded in 1996 and headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., National Healing Corporation provides management services and the latest technology and expertise in wound healing to its client hospitals to establish quality wound healing programs. The Joint Commission has awarded NHC Disease-Specific Care Certification for wound care. Committed to health care compliance and best practice medicine, NHC emphasizes these priorities in its extensive clinical and business training programs. Morgan Stanley Venture Partners and Scale Venture Partners are NHC’s leading financial partners, which accounts for 28 percent of all managed and outsourced wound centers in the United States. Visit www.nationalhealing.com.

Saint Joseph Health System
Kevin Smith