|The body is an amazing system. With proper care, a reasonably healthy person can usually recover from almost any type of wound.
But some wounds just won’t heal. And that’s more than an annoyance…it’s dangerous. Chronic wounds need attention. That’s why NOCHS opened the Wound Healing Center right on our campus. Here are answers to some common questions around the what and why of chronic wounds.
When would I need to go to the Wound Healing Center?
When you hear “Wound Healing Center,” you might think it sounds like a place where you bring your freshly injured self, but that’s not the case. When you get a burn or a cut, for example, you go to a place like Urgent Care or the Emergency Room. But let’s say your burn is not healing after 30 days. In that case, you have what we call a chronic wound…something that lasts a month or more without exhibiting progress towards healing. That’s when you might come to a Wound Healing Center.
Why don’t some wounds heal?
Our bodies are complex systems, and there are many reasons why a wound may not heal properly. Often it’s related to a vascular problem. The injured area may not have sufficient blood flow to bring oxygen and healing nutrients to the wound site. Many chronic wounds are related to other diseases, such as diabetes or obesity. In fact, 25 percent of the people who come to a Wound Healing Center are diabetics. Our patients are some of the sickest people in the community, often with multiple health issues that complicate their wound care. The point is, a chronic wound is dangerous and painful, but it’s not really the problem. It’s a symptom of other problems. The work of a Wound Healing Center is as much about finding the reasons why a wound won’t heal as it is about treating the wound itself. Once we address the other issues, the wound can heal.
Why is an unhealed wound such a big deal?
Aside from the pain and discomfort, an unhealed wound is an infection waiting to happen. Infections that spread far enough or go deep enough can lead to amputation or even death. More people die each year from wound complications related to diabetes than from breast cancer. An unhealed wound is definitely not something to ignore.
What kind of outcomes do you typically see?
Our providers are members of a national network of experts who work exclusively on this issue. We have found that a holistic approach leads to a much better outcome. Our “median days to cure” is 26 days. This is even true for patients who have been fighting their wound for months or even a year. While not every case can be healed this quickly, we have demonstrated that a comprehensive approach to the underlying causes can yield a dramatic result.
Why is it important to have the Wound Healing Center in Grand Haven?
There are two primary reasons why this new clinic is so important. First is ease of access. Patients come to the Wound Healing Center every week until they have healed. Many patients have limited mobility, and/or rely on an ambulance or someone else to get them to their appointments. A local provider saves a huge amount of time for everyone involved. The second reason this is important is the sheer volume of need. In Northwest Ottawa County, with a sizeable population of aged 65 and older, the number of people affected by chronic wounds is well into the thousands.
How can I get an appointment?
In most cases, patients are referred by their primary care physician. However, we are also happy to initiate that referral process at your request. Call us at 616.844.4900 for more information or click here.