Take a deep dive … drill down … unpack the situation, they’re all about looking below the surface to understand complexities. That’s the kind of work that goes on every day at Advanced Wound Care at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in Prescott Valley.
“With non-healing wounds of the lower-extremities it’s critical to understand the underlying issues,” says Cheryl Sofonia, MPH, Program Manager, Advanced Wound Care at Dignity Health, YRMC. “A chronic wound cannot be healed until you know its underlying cause.”
Here’s the Plan
After a patient is referred to Advanced Wound Care by their primary care provider or other physician, the “deep dive” can begin. This includes a history and physical, lab work, imaging (an MRI or x-ray), and a thorough assessment of the non-healing wound.
“This information is the foundation of every patient care plan at Advanced Wound Care,” explains Sofonia.
What are the most common, non-healing wounds of the lower extremities?
- Arterial ulcers – These non-healing wounds form on the outer side of the ankles, feet, heels, or toes. The cause of these chronic wounds may be blocked arteries, diabetes, age and hypertension, to name a few.
- Venous ulcers – Typically found below the knee and on the inner ankle, these non-healing wounds can be triggered by poor circulation in the leg’s veins. Other risk factors include varicose veins, obesity, and smoking.
- Diabetic foot ulcers – For people with diabetes, a minor blister can develop quickly into a non-healing wound that requires intense therapy.
- Pressure ulcers – Long-term weight and friction on a specific area – often the feet – can lead to a non-healing wound.
Other chronic wounds are caused by burns, radiation, and non-healing surgical wounds. In general, a wound that doesn’t heal after four weeks is considered chronic. Such wounds affect approximately 3% of people age 65 and older as well as more than 8 million U.S. residents.
A Patient-Focused Approach
Advanced Wound Care takes a team approach to diagnosing and treating chronic wounds. The patient – who is at the center of the team – receives treatment from exceptional wound care specialists and visiting physician specialists as well as experienced healthcare professionals. The Advanced Wound Care team includes:
- Two certified wound care physician specialists
- 11 registered nurses, including certified wound and ostomy nurses
- An occupational therapist who specializes in treating secondary lymphedema, a buildup of fluid in the tissues caused by another disease or condition
- An interventional cardiologist
- A podiatrist
- An infectious disease specialist
Additionally, the experts at the Vein Center at Dignity Health, YRMC, are located adjacent to Advanced Wound Care. The Vein Center conducts ablation therapies to treat patients with issues related to the arteries and veins.
“The collaborative nature of Advanced Wound Care benefits patients in many ways,” Sofonia says. “One of the most important aspects of our structure is that our patient care is centralized so people don’t have to travel to different clinics for care.”
Talk to your healthcare provider for a referral to Advanced Wound Care. For more information, visit Advanced Wound Care at YRMC.org or call 928-771-4788.