For those interested: Southcoast Hospitals Group announces region's first Wound Care Center |

Southcoast Hospitals Group recently announced plans to open the region's first comprehensive Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program for the treatment of chronic and non-healing wounds. The center will be located at Charlton Memorial Hospital, the Fall River site of Southcoast Hospitals Group.

Created in partnership with Diversified Clinical Services, the world's largest wound care management company, the Southcoast Wound Care Center will offer the latest in hospital-based outpatient wound care, including circulatory system diagnostics and treatment, nutrition, pain management, diabetes care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, also known as HBOT.

"Southcoast continues to invest in the future by providing high-quality, well-respected programs such as bariatric surgery, cardiac care and comprehensive oncology services throughout the entire South Coast region," said Keith A. Hovan, President & CEO of Southcoast Hospitals Group. "This comprehensive program will provide a multi-disciplinary approach to the management of complex wounds and state-of-the-art hyperbaric oxygen therapy to further enhance the services we currently offer."

"Beginning in February 2010, the South Coast region will have its first dedicated wound care center offering patients comprehensive services in one location," said Ellen Banach, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services for Southcoast. "Dedicated wound care centers have proven to be the most effective way to treat patients with non-healing or chronic wounds. Partnering with the nation's leading provider of wound care services further guarantees that patients receive the highest quality care through the area's most experienced physicians and our coordinated team of health care professionals."

Comprehensive wound care centers treat wound problems with a variety of clinical treatments, including the removal of damaged tissue (a technique known as debridement), medicines, dressings and a wide range of support services. An essential part of the program is the collaboration with the patient's primary care or referring physician and continued patient education.

The new center will utilize the most up-to-date approaches to wound healing and prevention, drawing upon the newest scientific advances in wound care including the region's first on-site chamber designed to deliver high doses of healing oxygen directly to help improve difficult wounds.
Nationally, some 7 million people suffer from chronic, non-healing wounds— a serious disorder that can lead to amputation and dramatically impaired quality of life.

"Associated with inadequate circulation, vascular insufficiency, obesity and immobility, non-healing wounds occur most frequently in the elderly and in people with diabetes," said Gerald Monchik, MD, a surgeon at Charlton Memorial Hospital. "Studies have shown that specialized wound care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy accelerates wound healing, reduces amputation rates and helps patients avoid hospitalization."

In addition, Fall River has the highest mortality rate for diabetes in Massachusetts, suggesting that cases here are more severe and more complicated. The New Bedford area ranks third.

"The need for improved wound care in Fall River is compelling," said Martin Fogle, MD, the Director of Endovascular Services at Charlton Memorial Hospital and a physician-surgeon in PrimaCARE's Center for Vascular Diseases. "The South Coast region has one of the highest rates of hospitalizations for patients with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and obesity, all being conditions associated with poor circulation. Proper medical care emphasizes not only good medical management of the primary disease, but also aims to prevent and treat the associated complications.

"Identifying and treating patients promptly is the best way to heal troublesome wounds, avoid hospitalization and return people back to their productive lives as soon as possible," Dr. Fogle said.

During hyperbaric oxygen treatments, the patient lies comfortably, breathing pure 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber.

"Hyperbaric oxygen delivers high concentrations of oxygen through the bloodstream to the tissues surrounding the wound, stimulating the healing process," Dr. Monchik said. "This can be the missing link needed to promote healing in difficult wounds."

More information can be found at Southcoast Health System & Southcoast Hospitals Group | Wound Care Center.