The Wound Treatment Process

The treatment of hard-to-heal wounds involves five main steps including: Assessment, Intervention, Re-Evaluation, Outcomes Measurement and Patient Education.

Specific services for wound treatment include:

  • Diagnostic Procedures
  • Debridement (removal of dead or damaged tissue)
  • Cleansing
  • Dressing Changes
  • Additional Therapies: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Compression Therapy, Orthotics, Nutritional Counseling, etc.
  • Infection Control
  • Coordination of Services including: Transportation, Home Health, and Extended Care

Types of Wounds Treated

The types of Wounds Treated include:

  • Pressure Ulcers
  • Venous Stasis Ulcers
  • Diabetic Ulcers
  • Arterial Ulcers
  • Trauma wounds/Crush injuries
  • Burns
  • Complex soft tissue wounds
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Radiation tissue damage
  • Gangrene
  • Osteomyelitis (bone infections)
  • Soft Tissue Infections
  • Osteoradionecrosis
  • Problem Surgical Wounds

Other Conditions Treated Include:

  • Smoke inhalation
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Acute blood loss anemia
  • Decompression Illness
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Air or gas embolism

Therapeutic Services

Our unit offers a full range of therapies for the treatment of wounds, including:

  • Conventional wound care therapy
  • Compression therapy
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Debridement
  • Specialty dressings
  • Patient education
  • Coordination of specialty services including home health guidance, nutritional counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and orthotics
  • Growth factors and bio-engineered tissue products, when approved by FDA

Conventional and Specialty Dressings

Our unit offers both conventional and specialty dressings. We will assess your wound to determine the most appropriate wound dressing. As the wound heals, the dressing choice is adjusted. You will be given instructions on how to change your dressing at home.

Compression Therapy

Twenty-five percent of the population has some form of venous abnormality. These patients are at risk for developing leg ulcers and often have swelling in their lower legs. Treatment of swelling is essential for wound healing to occur. There are several methods of applying therapy to reduce swelling, including compression therapy. Our unit doctor will determine the most appropriate therapy for you.


This unit utilizes debridement techniques to remove dead tissue from the wound bed. This may be completed by utilizing several kinds of debridement including conservative and surgical methods. Our unit doctor will evaluate the wound to determine what type of debridement is necessary.

Coordinated Services for Specialty Therapies or Needs

By coordinating with home health agencies and other community services, our program offers additional support for our patients, including nutritional education, menu planning, diabetic education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, whirlpool, gait training and daily reinforcement and teaching related to each diagnosis. Patients who require orthotics for pressure relief, support and prosthetic adjustments will be referred to an orthotics professional.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is administered in a single patient hyperbaric chamber that delivers 100% oxygen to patients in an environment of increased atmospheric pressure. The therapy works throughout your entire body as the increased level of oxygen enters the blood and body tissues.

Hyperbaric chambers hold the whole patient, and are constructed of clear acrylic plastic to allow a full view outside of the chamber, and allow our staff to monitor and support critically ill patients. While hyperbaric oxygen therapy was initially used to treat divers with decompression sickness, its role has expanded to become a treatment for many other illnesses and medical conditions like healing chronic wounds. Patients with diabetes often develop severe non-healing wounds that require surgical intervention. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has proven to be a valuable therapy for these patients. Patients with pressure ulcers, arterial ulcers and other types of wounds that fail to respond to conservative therapy may also be candidates for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Medicare approved conditions treated by hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:

  • Actinomycosis
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Gas gangrene
  • Preparation and preservation of compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Chronic refractory osteomyelitis (bone infections)
  • Progressive necrotizing infections
  • Crush injuries
  • Osteoradionecrosis
  • Decompression illness
  • Gas embolism
  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia
  • Acute peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis (radiation tissue damage)
  • Cyanide poisoning
  • Diabetic wounds of the lower extremities

Other conditions that are covered by many insurance companies include:

  • Acute blood loss anemia
  • Burns
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Brown recluse spider bites

Phases of Treatment

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy lasts about 2 ½ hours per session, and consists of three phases:


After you are settled in the chamber, compression takes place for about five to ten minutes. Oxygen can be heard coming into the chamber and there is a slight increase in temperature, which is controlled by our staff. You may notice pressure building in your ears, similar to the feeling experienced when landing in an airplane. During this phase, and throughout the treatment, the hyperbaric staff can assist with relieving discomfort or pressure.

Prescribed time at pressure

A treatment plan devised specifically for you determines the number of hyperbaric oxygen sessions needed and the length of time per session. Normally, patients receive 100% oxygen for one to two hours per treatment. You may spend this time in a relaxing way by sleeping, listening to music, or watching television.


As pressure is decreased in the chamber, the temperature drops. Symptoms are minimal during this phase, although some patients experience a “popping” noise in their ears.

Preparing for Treatment

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments are administered daily and require patients to be present for approximately 2 ½ hours each day. Course of treatment varies by diagnosis, but usually consists of 20-30 treatments.
  • You will be seen and evaluated by our staff before and after your therapy.
  • Only 100% cotton hospital gowns or “scrubs” are allowed in the chamber. These will be provided to you before the procedure begins.
  • Do not smoke for at least two hours before or after treatment.
  • Do not drink any alcohol prior to treatment.
  • Eat a regular meal before treatment (this is especially important for diabetic patients).
  • If your doctor has prescribed any medications for you, take them as usual (including pain medication) before you arrive and inform our staff during your evaluation.
  • If you have a cold or any sinus congestion, please inform our staff upon arrival, as this may determine whether nasal sprays and decongestants are administered.
  • If you have an existing wound, a dressing change may also be performed.

Safety Precautions

Because the chamber is pressurized with 100% oxygen, we cannot allow certain items to be taken inside. These include lighters or matches, cigarettes, nylons, wigs or hair pieces, petroleum jelly, ointments, hearing aids, watches, makeup, lipstick or lip balm, hair spray, hair oil or relaxers, synthetic clothing or hard contact lenses. Should you have any questions, we will be happy to discuss them with you before treatment begins.

Consent and Possible Side Effects

Before your initial treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy will be explained in detail including any potential side effects you might experience. You will then sign an informed consent as you would for any hospital treatment. The most common treatable side effects are:

  • Fullness or stuffiness in your ears
  • Confinement anxiety or “feeling closed in”
  • Temporary, slightly blurred vision
  • Temporary light headedness
  • Temporary muscle discomfort