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Frequently Asked Questions About Wound Care

The following are frequently asked questions about wound care services.

How can I get a consultation from the Wound Care Center?

You may call the Center for Advanced Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine directly or be referred by your doctor.

Does insurance cover treatment?

Many health plans cover Wound Care Center treatments. Your coverage depends on your specific plan. Be sure to bring your insurance cards with you when you visit our Wound Care Centers.

What Causes Non-Healing Wounds?

Chronic and non-healing wounds can result from a number of factors, including diabetes, poor circulation, trauma, vascular disease, and immobility (which can lead to pressure ulcers, commonly known as "bed sores"). An estimated eight million Americans suffer from chronic wounds. Wounds come from a variety of different medical conditions, and they don't heal for many different reasons.

Will I have to change my primary care doctor or specialist?

No. In fact, the Wound Care Center prefers to work with your physician or medical specialist during the treatments. We even keep your doctor informed with frequent progress reports. While you’ll be receiving treatment for your wound from the Wound Care Center, you’ll continue to receive all of your routine care from your primary physician.

Does insurance cover specialized wound care treatments?

Many health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, cover Wound Care Center treatments. Call us to determine what your specific plan covers.

What can I expect at the first appointment?

The first appointment consists of an assessment by our skilled, cross-functional wound care team, a review of your medical history, blood tests, and recommendations for your treatment plan. Please be sure to bring to this appointment your medical records, insurance information, a list of current medications, and a list of your allergies. You should expect to spend several hours at the Center.

Is hyperbaric medicine safe?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a safe and evidence-based treatment proven to speed the healing process in certain types of wounds. In fact, many patients find it relaxing! The clear chambers are equipped with televisions and comfortable bedding, so patients are free watch their favorite television shows or a movie, or even sleep. A typical course of treatment involves the patient spending about 90 minutes a day in the chamber five days per week over a four-to-six-week period.

Am I a Candidate for HBO2T?

If your primary care doctor thinks HBO2T may benefit you, they will authorize a consultation with one of our physicians to see if HBO2T is indicated. We have had patients as young as 3 weeks and as old as 101 years tolerate HBO2T without any problem.

What is the preparation for HBO2T?

You will be provided with written patient instructions. Basically, eat drink, sleep, and take your medications as prescribed. Your may wish to arrange to have a family member with you for the first few treatments. We have some restrictions with hair oils and cosmetics. Additionally, we request that you not smoke while undergoing therapy.

What are the risks and side effects of HBO2T?

We have completed nearly 28,000 treatments at SGAH without any serious complications. Your doctor and nurse will discuss the risks involved during consultation. Some minor side effects include painful ears and occasionally minor visual changes. These effects are temporary, occurring in a small percentage of patients.

Can I continue to smoke?

If your primary care doctor thinks HBO2, No. Research shows that smoking will negate all the positive benefits of HBO2T.

What if I'm claustrophobic?

Most patients experience mild claustrophobia when they begin HBO2T. Once they become comfortable, many of our patients claim HBO2T is a little "oasis in the hospital". The staff will often recommend anti-anxiety medication for your first treatments. It has been our experience that if patients are relaxed for the first ten treatments, they will enjoy the remainder HBO2T.

Who will take care of my wound?

One advantage of daily HBO2T is that your wound will be assessed daily by highly skilled wound care specialists.

How does my doctor know my treatment plan?

We will send a detailed consultation to your doctor outlining your treatment plan. We will also send this information to your insurance company if requested. We will communicate your program with your doctor to insure continuity of care.

What happens if I'm sick during my course of HBO2T?

Please notify us if you are sick with a fever, cough, sore throat, nausea/vomiting, or diarrhea while undergoing HBO2T. Your treatment may be postponed until your symptoms have subsided. High fever may enhance the effects of O2.

What does HBO2T feel like?

HBO2T can be very comfortable. Some patients experience minor ear discomfort, similar to symptom you may have noticed on an airplane flight. The staff will discuss this with you.

Will my HBO2T schedule be convenient for me?

Our weekday hours are 07:00 to 9:00 PM. Many patients elect to come in the evening after work. We will try to accommodate your schedule as much as possible. We also offer some Saturday hours.

What about my prescribed mediations?

Most medications will not interfere with HBO2T. Some antibiotics are actually enhanced during therapy. The HBO2T staff will review your medications and make any appropriate recommendations to your primary doctor.

Insulin effects may be enhanced necessitating close monitoring of blood system and possible adjustment of dose.

Do I make any changes in my diet or exercise patterns?

The staff will discuss a high protein diet to offer optimum wound healing if indicated, otherwise eat and exercise as directed by your primary doctor.

Proper nutrition is exactly important in wound healing. Nutritional status is assessed on your initial visit and recommendation is made if necessary. A dietician can be called if necessary.

How many treatments are necessary?

This depends on the condition being treated. Co-poisoning and diving injuring may need one or two treatments. Compromised flaps or grafts require 7-10 treatments usually given twice a day. Chronic wounds radiation injuries may require 20-40 treatments. Your HBO2T treatment regime will be tailored for your specific condition.

Why can't just the effected part of my body be put in a hyperbaric chamber?

This form of treatment referred to as topical O2 administration, has been evaluated and found to be ineffective. For HBO to be effective the O2 must be inhaled and distributed to tissue by the vascular system. An analogy would be applying an antibiotic topically to a wound is giving it intravenously.

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