The 10-seat hyperbaric oxygen treatment chamber that recently opened at the U-M Comprehensive Wound Care Clinic adds a key treatment modality to the clinic's armamentarium.

Consolidated care

Multidisciplinary wound care clinic addresses multiple patient needs

issue 22 | Fall 2014

More than five million Americans are treated annually for chronic wounds that do not heal. Such wounds can result from a number of factors, including diabetes, poor circulation, trauma, vascular disease or immobility. Foot ulcers affect more than 15 percent of people with diabetes and account for more than half of all lower extremity amputations.

The University of Michigan Health System's Comprehensive Wound Care Clinic, opened in fall 2013, addresses the needs of these patients with a focus on wound healing, limb preservation, and prolonging and improving the quality of life. The clinic takes a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and treatment of non-healing wounds.

A variety of treatment modalities, such as the latest in biologic dressings, are part of the everyday care arsenal employed by the clinic's practitioners. The newest addition to the clinic, a 10-person, multi-place hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy chamber, opened in late September. The clinic will initially run two HBO sessions daily.

The intensive oxygenation provided to damaged tissues during HBO treatment hastens healing. "Not every wound patient needs HBO," says Steven Haase, M.D., plastic surgeon and programmatic medical director for Wound Care. "But those who do really benefit from it."

"The goal of this multidisciplinary clinic is to serve all patient needs in one facility," continues Haase. The clinic offers a wide array of specialties, including general surgery, plastic surgery, family medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, podiatry and physical therapy wound care. In addition, support services such as social work and nutrition services are available on-site.

Patients who are referred to the clinic by their primary care providers are triaged by the clinical staff and assigned to the appropriate care provider, says Melissa Peterson, MSN, ambulatory care administrator. Electronic medical records keep referring physicians apprised of treatment plans and patient progress.

"Our staff is passionate and committed to wound care," says Haase. "Because we generally see patients regularly over weeks or months, we strive to build good long-term relationships with each of them."

"This clinic is a medical 'home' for patients with chronic wounds," Peterson adds. "We make sure they get consistency and the responsive follow-up they need."