Time is critical for patients dealing with chronic wounds. Small or large, wounds take time to heal, and delaying treatment because of concerns over COVID-19 could lead to serious health consequences.
While some wounds, like small cuts, can usually heal on their own, others, like burns, ulcers or rashes, may become serious and require urgent medical attention. Chronic wounds are wounds that fail to heal naturally and on their own for over a month.
The Houston Methodist Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program at Baytown offers expert treatment of wounds by a skilled and knowledgeable staff in a brand new, safe and clean facility that features two, state-of-the-art hyperbaric chambers.
“Some people have medical conditions that cause small wounds to become chronic; sometimes issues that are beyond their control,” said vascular surgeon Dr. Jacobo Nurko, medical director of the Houston Methodist Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program at Baytown. “That is the time when you need to talk with your doctor and seriously consider a referral for an evaluation at our advanced wound care center. Our multidisciplinary group of doctors will evaluate your wound to provide the best cost effective treatment option to promote healing in a timely fashion.”
Protecting your health
Because all wounds have the potential to become chronic, your overall health may depend on how well you take care of wounds. Factors that may contribute to poor wound healing include smoking, diabetes, neuropathy, obesity, peripheral vascular disease, infection, poor nutrition and immunosuppression, among others. Specialized care can help heal wounds and prevent more complex medical problems. Some technology and techniques used for treating chronic wounds include:
• Wound dressings: Cleansing, covering the wound, ensuring moisture balance
• Debridement: Scraping away tissue to allow growth of new tissue
• Compression therapy: Compression bandage systems
• Offloading: Protective footwear, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs
• Skin grafting: Using your own skin, or a skin substitute, to provide quick coverage of the wound and expedite healing
• Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: Delivering more oxygen to the wound by breathing 100% oxygen in a special chamber
The Houston Methodist Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program at Baytown provides a full spectrum of specialized care to treat chronic wounds. The program is accredited by the Undersea & Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), one of just two clinics in the Houston area accredited by the UHMS. The program meets the very stringent certification criteria, which provides Baytown area residents with the highest quality of wound care treatment and patient safety possible without having to leave home.
“There is no question that with help from your specialized wound care team, chronic wounds can heal faster and complications can be avoided,” said Nurko. “Don’t wait for wounds to get worse. Consult your doctor, or call us directly. We are ready to answer all of your questions to ensure the best outcome.”
Focusing on prevention
Focusing on preventing infection, can help to keep wounds from becoming chronic. Nurko recommends the following steps to prevent wounds from endangering your overall health: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing proper hygiene, including regularly washing hands and feet and checking for small cuts, cracks, tenderness, redness or swelling on a daily basis, and scheduling regular doctor appointments, especially diabetes patients, who should ask their doctor to check for early signs of nerve damage or other issues.
Ensuring patient safety
Houston Methodist Baytown Hospital has implemented the following enhanced safety measures in all of its doctors’ offices and clinics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the health and wellbeing of our patients:
• Screening all patients when scheduling appointments for symptoms and exposure risk
• Minimizing the number of patients we are seeing per day in our clinics by expanding virtual services and staggering in-person appointments
• Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-recommended testing for our employees
• Screening all patients upon arrival with temperature checks and an exposure questionnaire
• Wearing personal protective equipment while providing patient care
• Redesigning waiting rooms and check-in lines to ensure social distancing
• Implementing additional sanitation processes to disinfect all equipment and surfaces
For more information on the wound care treatments offered by the Houston Methodist Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Program at Baytown, visit houstonmethodist.org/baytown or call 281-425-2160.