The Wound Care Center at Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center is a leader in Northern New Jersey in treating patients with stubborn wounds. Individuals living with diabetes are particularly prone to slow-healing and related risks when they experience a wound, especially foot wounds. To learn more about how wounds are treated, Lauren Danzi, RN, BSN, WCC, manager of the Wound Care Center, is telling us more, as well as sharing general foot health practices.
“A lot of the patients we see are primarily diabetic, so a lot of our education is geared towards that population,” said Danzi. “While most of the information is diabetic specific, it can be applicable to everyone.”
Proper footwear plays a major role in foot health. “Wearing footwear that’s properly sized and safe for your lifestyle is important to make sure that there’s no development of wounds or pressure points,” said Danzi. “Older individuals tend to wear shoes that are easy to get off and on, which can increase the risk of falling, so sufficient tread is also an important factor.”
Routine foot care is vital for all. “We tell all of our patients to make sure that they are inspecting all parts of their feet every day,” said Danzi. “Keeping feet moisturized and nail care should also be a priority. As we age, toenails get thicker. If they are not cut properly, infections or ingrown toenails can develop. We suggest seeing one of the podiatrists who are active in the Wound Care Center if those issues arise.”
Diabetic patients often come into the Wound Care Center with peripheral neuropathy. “Patients come to us with these foot ulcers and they aren’t sure how they got them or how to take care of them,” said Danzi. “Our doctors can perform debridement to remove any dead tissue from the wound if needed.”
General wounds are also treated with topical treatments and antibiotics.
When it comes to diabetics, overall health is monitored to ensure that the best care is received. “If patients are struggling with diabetes management, we start by checking their A1C levels and take a look at their vascular status through an arterial doppler,” said Danzi. “Individuals who have had diabetes for a long period of time often experience difficulties with arterial blood flow and can have a hard time healing from even the smallest of wounds. Because we are a multi-disciplinary center, we are able to determine the barriers to healing to see what can be done by consulting with a vascular surgeon or an infection disease specialist if needed.”
The Wound Care Center also offers hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HbOT), a painless treatment that delivers 100 percent pure oxygen to the body to enhance its natural healing process and strengthen the immune system. “The hyperbaric chambers are typically used for individuals with diabetic foot ulcers, but can be used for others,” said Danzi. “This treatment option aligns with our goal of limb salvage and making sure that we have a healthy population.”
To learn more about the Wound Care Center at Mountainside Medical Center, visit mountainsidehosp.com/services/wound-care.