About the Wound & Hyperbaric Center
Our Wound and Hyperbaric Center can be especially helpful for individuals suffering from a chronic or complex wound. Chronic wounds are caused when the body’s healing process is delayed, usually as a result of common health problems such as diabetes or poor circulation. If chronic wounds are left untreated, these wounds can become larger, more painful, and can cause serious health issues.
Our Wound & Hyperbaric Center Offers a Full Spectrum of Clinical Services
Conventional and Specialty Dressings
Many chronic wounds can be healed with conventional dressings and comprehensive wound care techniques.
Debridement is the removal of dead tissue from a wound. Our team will debride wounds as necessary to stimulate healthy tissue growth. There are several methods of debridement available and our team will provide the most effective therapy while minimizing your discomfort and risk of complication.
Venous insufficiency is one of the main causes of chronic wounds. This chronic condition causes painful swelling of the legs and makes it very difficult for wounds of the legs and feet to heal. Compression therapy is a method of wrapping the legs in several layers of dressings to decrease the swelling. Once the swelling is decreased, oxygenated blood can reach the wound more easily and wounds have a greater chance of healing. There are several different compression therapy methods and our team will work with you to provide the best therapy for your individual wound.
Bioengineered Skin Grafting
Complex wounds may require specialty dressings, growth factors, negative pressure devices, or bioengineered tissue products.
Off-loading and Contact Casting
Off-loading is positioning the body so that pressure does not rest on top of the wounded area. This can be done by simply not sitting, laying, or walking directly on the wound and by using a special type of bed, chair, walker, pad, shoe, or cast. The team will assist you with off-loading techniques for your specific needs.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy is a treatment method in which you are enclosed in a single hyperbaric chamber that delivers 100 percent oxygen in an environment of increased atmospheric pressure. The therapy works throughout the entire body to improve the body’s response to infection and support tissue growth and wound healing. The UPMC Western Maryland Wound and Hyperbaric Center’s state-of-the-art hyperbaric chambers are designed with your comfort in mind. The clear, acrylic chamber allows you to have full visibility outside, while also allowing our team to monitor inside the chamber as you are undergoing this treatment. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, most individuals will sleep or watch television throughout the treatment period. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has proven to be a valuable therapy for diabetic foot ulcers, chronic refractory osteomyelitis, preservation of compromised flaps and grafts, and delayed radiation injuries to soft tissue and bone.
The Treatment Process
Our Wound and Hyperbaric team includes Dr. Julie Bielec, a wound and hyperbaric physician and surgeon certified by the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA), a nurse practitioner, and highly-trained certified wound care clinicians and technicians who will evaluate your wound(s) and determine the best treatment to heal it quickly.
Our team will take your health history and complete a wound assessment, and vascular workup before developing a comprehensive treatment plan customized to your particular condition. Treatment plans may change as wounds begin to heal.
Continuity of Care with Referring Physicians
Communication with your referring physician is essential to manage any underlying disease processes, such as diabetes, that may have attributed to wound development or may hinder the healing process.
Progress reports are routinely created and delivered to referring physicians to keep them informed of your progress. The team will also contact your physician if they recommend an invasive procedure or therapeutic service outside of our Center’s scope of practice.
It is important to communicate with your referring physician regularly to ensure that treatment plans are coordinated and to keep your physician aware of their healing progress. Once your wound is healed, the team will give you detailed instructions for follow-up care and prevention of further wound problems.
Our specially trained team will educate you and your family on proper wound care, nutrition, diabetes, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and wound prevention throughout your course of treatment. The team also coordinates specialty services including home health, nutritional counseling, physical therapy, occupational therapy, smoking cessation, and orthotics as needed to speed wound healing.
In general, insurance plans, Medicare, and Medicaid cover the conditions listed above. For specific questions about insurance coverage, please contact the insurance provider directly. If you are currently receiving home care services, you may be eligible to participate as part of their plan of care.
Most insurances accepted and a referral from your Primary Care Physician (PCP) is not necessary.