APRIL PARTNER SPOTLIGHT: CENTER FOR WOUND HEALING & HYPERBARIC MEDICINE AT DECATUR COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
This month, we’d like to recognize the wound care team at Decatur County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) in Greensburg, Indiana. Originally built to honor members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives during World War I, the hospital first opened its doors in 1922 and has experienced several expansions over the years to meet the growing need for healthcare services in the region.
The Center for Wound Healing & Hyperbaric medicine opened in September of 2010 and is located on the second floor of the hospital. According to Jennifer Fletcher, M.D., the Center’s medical director, the clinic is a busy operation, and there is a noticeable trend of patients aging downward.
“It used to be that most of our patients were over 50, but now we’re seeing people in their 30s and 40s with amputations because of poorly controlled diabetes,” she said. “Unfortunately, we’re seeing this trend in Indiana and across the country, and it’s a huge problem.”
Led by Dr. Fletcher, the staff includes an expert team of wound care nurses and physicians, including a vascular surgeon. Although most patients come into the clinic with wounds stemming from diabetes, many have other comorbidities such as venous insufficiency and lymphedema, or lower-extremity swelling. Specialized services include wound debridement and treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and vascular surgery for chronic venous insufficiency that fails to respond to conservative therapy.
“A wound typically heals on its own without too much intervention in a healthy population, but for many individuals with diabetes or vascular disorders, it’s another story,” Fletcher said. “Having a specialized wound program in a small community like this one is very important, because many patients don’t want to drive on the Interstate several times a week, and they’re much more likely to be compliant if they can get treatment closer to home.”
“We have a wonderful staff here at the wound center and our nurses do an amazing job,” she said. “Carla Rader, our program director who is also an RN, is also great with our patients and offers extra encouragement and support. It really is a team effort to help our patients heal.”