Spencer Hospital Introduces Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Wound Care Services

posted on Monday, January 4, 2021 in General

Chronic wounds affect 6.7 million people in the United States, often attributed to complications from diabetes, arterial disease, late effects of radiation therapy, and other chronic conditions.

To help address such concerns, Spencer Hospital has introduced hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) services locally, offering additional treatment options for patients in the region suffering from chronic wounds.

“As the population ages and rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes increase, the local medical community continues to see a rise in chronic wounds in need of care. Left untreated, chronic wounds can negatively impact a person’s quality of life and could possibly lead to amputation of the affected area,” explained Jordan Achterhoff, director of the hospital’s Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Medicine Center.

“For many years, Spencer Hospital has provided a strong nursing directed wound care program to expertly treat chronic wounds. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy adds another treatment option for many patients to help heal long-term wounds,” Achterhoff said.

Spencer Hospital has two HBOT chambers, which each delivers 100 percent pure oxygen, enhancing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to wound tissue.

Benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:

  • Accelerates the wound healing process
  • Increase oxygenation to all tissues
  • Promotes collagen and new skin development
  • Reduces swelling and discomfort
  • Promotes new blood vessel formation
  • Increases capillary growth
  • Activates bactericidal activity killing bacteria

HBOT is approved by Medicare to treat qualifying patients with a variety of medical conditions. Commonly treated health conditions include diabetic foot ulcers, radiation injuries to tissue and bone, necrotizing infections, compromised skin grafts and skin flaps, some types of arterial insufficiency and ischemia.

“HBOT is not painful,” Achterhoff said. “At the beginning of the treatment, a patient may feel pressure in their ears similar to flying in a plane. While in the chamber, patients are able to watch movies or listen to music to help pass the time.”

The expansion of Spencer Hospital’s would care program was developed under the medical direction of  Northwest Iowa Surgeons.  Dr. Jeff Helmink and Dr. Pat Slattery will join nurse practitioner Kayla Vanderhoff in offering patient services in the hospital’s wound care center. 

Achterhoff encourages patients who suffer from chronic wounds to visit with their healthcare provider about treatment options. A practitioner’s referral is required for HBOT and other wound care services.