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Wound Care Staff
Wound Care Staff

Thu, May 28, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Wound Care Awareness Week June 1-5

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marshall Wound Healing Center has stayed busy making sure patients with non-healing wounds got the care they needed.

GUNTERSVILLE, ALABAMA – May 13, 2020 During April, the coronavirus pandemic forced many doctor’s offices and hospitals to postpone services that could be temporarily delayed in an effort to slow the spread of the disease. The Marshall Wound Healing Center, however, stayed busy making sure patients with non-healing wounds got the care they needed.

In fact, the clinic had 468 visits during the month of April. It also provided 428 Hyperbaric treatments, which involve breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber to fight bacteria, stimulate growth factors and stem cells to promote healing.

“With everything going on, we are proud to be able to stay open and treat our patients,” said Kayla Gable, program director for the Wound Healing Center. “Wound care is essential. We just want patients to know we are here for them and will do everything possible to get them healed and back to living their lives like normal without a wound.”

Currently, almost 7 million people in the United States are living with chronic wounds. Due to the lack of awareness of advanced wound care, the vast majority of these people do not receive the treatment they need and deserve. That’s the reason behind Wound Care Awareness Week - which is coming up June 1-5th – to recognize what wound care specialists do and to inform the community about this treatment.

Clinics that specialize in wound care exist because those services aren’t always available from general practitioners. Primary care and community physicians do not typically undergo the advanced training required to truly understand a chronic wound and prescribe the best course of treatment. Healogics, which manages the Marshall Wound Healing Center and 600 other outpatient centers in the U.S., has a network of nearly 4,000 physicians to provide the specialized treatment. Marshall Wound Healing Center earned the Healogics Center of Excellence distinction in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Each year, about 80,000 adults with diabetes undergo a leg or foot amputation due to a non-healing wound, most of which started with an ulcer. Treating these ulcers early and with the most appropriate wound healing management is key to avoiding amputation.

“It is so important to get early treatment,” Gable said. “We are here to help keep our patients safe at home and to prevent inconvenient or unnecessary trips to the emergency room.”

Physician staff

Six physicians treat patients at the Marshall Wound Healing Center:

  • Dr. Donald Martin
  • Dr. M. Wayne Peters
  • Dr. Stephen Britt
  • Dr. Alan Calhoun
  • Dr. Alex Nixon
  • Dr. John Groves

Gable’s staff consists of five full-time nurses along with additional nurses working flexible time. They treat patients Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., averaging 25 to 30 patients each day but reaching up to 50 on busy days. Wound Care patients are typically prescribed to come in for weekly visits, and the goal is to heal wounds within 14 weeks.

Gable has worked her way up through the Wound Center. She began her career as a personal care assistant at Marshall South and graduated nursing school in 2010. She joined the Wound Center staff in 2013 in its current location at the Marshall Professional Center, next door to the Marshall Cancer Care Center. She became the nurse manager in 2016 and program director in 2019.

Specialized treatment

Advanced treatments at the Marshall Wound Healing Center include:

  • Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy or HBO involves a pressurized, oxygen-rich environment that stimulates growth of new blood vessels and tissue. HBO treatment takes place in a see-through pressurized chamber. Patients lay comfortably on a stretcher inside the chamber, where they can watch TV or a movie. Patients breathe 100% oxygen, which is carried by the blood from the patient’s lungs to the patient’s body, including the injured area. While the length of treatment for each patient is different, most patients receive between 30 and 40 two-hour treatments.
  • Cellular and tissue-based products deliver living tissue, stimulating the body’s own natural healing process by activating the body’s inherent ability to repair and regenerate. Innovative therapies are now available that reconstruct diseased tissue and support the regeneration of diseased or injured cells and organs.
  • Total contact casting is a treatment for non-infected diabetic foot ulcers that involves encasing the lower leg, foot and toes in a specialized cast. The cast takes the weight off the foot, which reduces pressure on the wound and increases the probability and speed of healing.
  • Debridement - All wounds are debrided weekly to remove necrotic – or dead - tissue to promote wound healing.

After going through weekly treatments with patients, Gable says the medical staff becomes very close to them. When they finally get to the point that a wound is well, patients ring a ‘Heal bell,’ which is a very emotional celebration for everyone involved.

“We get very close to these patients,” she says. “They know my family and I know theirs. It’s a good place.”

Healing can be just a phone call away. No physician referral is required and most insurance covers wound treatment. Patients can be seen without going to their primary physicians’ offices. Call (256)894.6976 to discuss your particular issue. Most callers are asked to come in for an evaluation.