Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine


The Alton Memorial Hospital Center for Wound Care, managed by Healogics, provides specialized treatment for chronic or non-healing wounds, which are defined as sores or wounds that have not significantly improved from conventional treatments. Associated with inadequate circulation, poorly functioning veins, and immobility, non-healing wounds lead to lower quality of life and may lead to amputations. When wounds persist, a specialized approach is required for healing. Typically, a wound that does not respond to normal medical care within 30 days is considered a problem or chronic wound.

That's where our Wound Care Center can help. With the state-of-the-art treatments available including debridement, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, dressing selection, special shoes, and patient education, people with non-healing and chronic wounds now have a place to turn.

Our Wound Care Center patients undergo a thorough diagnostic examination to identify their wound and its underlying causes. The wound healing program -- tailored to the patient's needs -- is based on the most effective treatment options. Treatment may include:
• Infectious disease management
• Physical therapy
• Vascular evaluation
• Laboratory evaluation
• Nutritional management
• Pain management
• Diabetic education
• Nuclear medicine
• Radiology
• Debridement

How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) work? 
HBOT is used as an adjunctive treatment for problematic, non-healing wounds that meet specific criteria; it is expected that 10 to 20 percent of the wound care cases will do so. Throughout HBOT treatments, the patients are monitored to see if the concentration of oxygen has increased in the blood near the wound. If the oxygen level is higher, the therapy is most likely beneficial to the patient.
During the treatments, the patient breathes 100 percent oxygen inside a pressurized chamber, quickly increasing the concentration of oxygen in the bloodstream, where it is delivered to a patient's wound site for faster healing. Essentially, HBOT helps heal the wound from the inside out. This therapy can help reduce swelling, fight infection, and build new blood vessels, ultimately producing healthy tissue. It is also effective in fighting certain types of infections, improving circulation, in stimulating growth of new blood vessels, and in treating crush injuries, osteomyelitis, compromised skin grafts and flaps, brown recluse spider bites, and diabetic wounds of the lower extremities.

What types of conditions are treated using hyperbaric oxygen therapy?
• Crush injuries
• Necrotizing (decaying) soft tissue infections
• Osteomyelitis (infection of the bones)
• Radiation tissue damage
• Skin grafts and flaps
• Diabetic wounds of the lower extremity
• Acute traumatic injury
• Burns

Are you a candidate for specialized wound care?
If you suffer from a chronic or non-healing wound, ask your physician about a referral to our Wound Care Center, or contact us directly for an assessment. If you are a candidate for this outpatient program, the Wound Care Center will immediately work with you and your doctor to deliver the following:
• Advanced therapies, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy
• Proven clinical protocols
• An individualized, comprehensive plan of care that brings you the most appropriate and effective treatments for your specific needs
• Assessment and ongoing care by our highly skilled team of wound care specialists, including a case manager who will oversee every aspect of your treatment
• Education for you and your family to help healing happen at home, including materials and resources related to prevention, nutrition, hygiene, and more
• Ongoing communication and collaboration with you and your doctor so that you each remain informed about your progress.

Wound Care Center Partnership with Healogics
Through a partnership with Healogics, Alton Memorial Hospital offers comprehensive specialized wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Healogics is the world's largest wound care management company with more than 300 hospital partners delivering evidence-based care to patients with chronic wounds. Healogics has been the leader in wound care for more than 20 years, offering the most advanced modalities such as adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Of special importance to Alton memorial Hospital, Healogics centers traditionally achieve excellent clinical outcomes, including high limb salvage rates, a 90 percent healing rate within 28 median days-to-heal and high patient satisfaction. 

Frequently Asked Questions
• How can I get a consultation from the Wound Care Center?
You may call the Wound Care Center directly or be referred by your doctor. To make an appointment directly, call: 618-433-7066
• 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 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 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 approximately two hours at the Center on your first visit.
• 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 to watch their favorite television shows or a movie, or even sleep. A typical course of treatment involves the patient spending about 110 minutes a day in the chamber five days per week over a four-to-six-week period.

Wound Care Statistics (July 2012-Sept 2012)
Active patients
Healing percentage
Average days-to-heal
Average patient encounters 
96 percent
(Patients are seen an average of 9.6 times during their course of treatment.)

Medical Staff
Medical director: Valinda Allen, MD, emergency medicine
Staff physicians: Rafael De la Cruz, MD, infectious disease 
Jacob Lamb, DPM, podiatry
Chris Aldridge, MD, general surgery*
Krista Nelson, DPM, podiatry

*Dr. Aldridge sees patients in the Wound Care Center every Tuesday afternoon, and consults on all challenging surgical wounds. Dr. Nelson sees patients on Thursday afternoon. Please contact us to refer a patient to Dr. Aldridge, Dr. Nelson, or any of our other Wound Care experts. 

Wound Care Center Earns Prestigious National Honor