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Fifth Anniversary Open House

The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine is celebrating its 5th Anniversary with an Open Hour and Tour on May 11 from 4-6pm. The Center is located on 3rd street behind Wilson Medical Center, 205 Mill Street, Neodesha. Plans for the event include tours of the Center, inviting former patients as guests and healthy refreshments.

How did a rural Kansas hospital, far from the ocean, end up with a busy hyperbaric chamber when Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) Chambers are most commonly associated with treating "The Bends"--caused when deep-sea divers rise to the surface too quickly? It is an interesting story.

Physicians have known for many years that air saturated with oxygen promotes healing and while the air we breathe contains 21% and 78 % nitrogen, air in an HBO chamber is 100% oxygen. There is an increase in the number of oxygen molecules dissolved in the blood, resulting in more blood vessels stimulated to grow and enhanced healing.

Diana Cunningham, RN, CWS®, WMC's Wound Care Program Director knew from her years of nursing that patients frequently have chronic wounds for one to ten years-or longer, and often their medical care giver didn't know about their wound or the patient had given up hope of being healed. She envisioned a place where people could call and talk about their problem wounds-a service where a wound care specialist would understand. A telephone call that could provide hope, information and discuss the healing process-and that telephone call needed to be free.

Her dream came to true in 1999. At Neodesha's Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine, our patients come from several sources including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, long term care facilities and our patients and their families. Patients or family members are invited to "pick up the phone" and call us directly using our toll-free number 1-888-603-1333 for a free telephone consultation.

You will be able to talk to one of our two Certified Wound Specialists-Diana Cunningham, RN, CWS®, or Becky Rhone, RN, CWS®. There are 14 medical providers currently board certified by the American Academy of Wound Management in the State of Kansas, and these two nurses are members of that elite group.

Program Director Diana Cunningham, RN, CWS® was the first Kansan to receive Board Certification. As a wound care consultant for nursing homes for over 13 years, she understands the need for care in SE Kansas and the inconvenience of traveling to large cities for treatment for daily treatments. The hyperbaric chamber was added in July 1999 "so our patients wouldn't have to travel 100 miles for hyperbaric treatments that in some cases are essential for healing." Since the Chamber's installation, patients have received 2,077 Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments. .

Becky Rhone, RN, CWS®, first became interested in wound care while working in a nursing home. She saw how elderly people with multiple chronic health problems are susceptible to skin injury and are often very slow to heal. Later as a home health nurse, she was shocked to find how many people live with open and painful wounds for years. "When I heard about the break though hyperbaric oxygen and other new techniques are making in wound healing, I was excited," she said. "For me, helping people heal is the heart of nursing."

What kind of calls do they receive? People who want to talk about all types of non-healing wounds---ulcers caused by diabetes, pressure (bed sores), burns, varicose veins, and brown recluse spider bites for example. Often people with diabetic foot wounds don't seek treatment because they are fearful of amputation. Seeking care early can often prevent that from happening. Occasionally their wounds are from industrial or other accidents. Some non-healing wounds are a result of medical procedures-tissue damaged during radiation treatments for cancer or perhaps a surgical incision that doesn't heal rapidly. The surgical procedures are varied-from an infected leg as a result of a vein being used for a bypass heart surgery to a young mother's C-section incision that doesn't close.

Patients have ranged in age from 2 to 96 and hyperbaric patients from 13 to 96. Their stories have one underlying theme-pain, inconvenience, and often a history of failure to heal.

Deanna Pittman, WMC administrator invites area residents to attend the Celebration and notes, "Since the Center was established, a total of 1, 435 wounds have been treated with 6,446 patient visits. We're extremely proud of our Wound Care Team and their 91.6% heal rate. None of this would be possible without our dedicated staff and physicians."