Diane Bakke, RN, speaks with a patient in the center’s new hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Diane Bakke, RN, speaks with a patient in the center’s new hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

Desert Regional Medical Center has opened the Advanced Wound Healing Center, with locations in Palm Springs and La Quinta, to provide sophisticated medical solutions for patients with difficult-to-heal wounds, including individuals with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

If a wound has not healed within a month, it is considered a chronic condition that requires medical attention. Those with diabetes face increased risk of health complications including impaired blood circulation, loss of nerve function, a weakened immune system, foot ulcers and infections – all of which can lead to lower extremity amputations.

The new center offers a comprehensive approach with a multi-disciplinary clinical team and some of the latest wound healing technologies, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and reconstructive surgical procedures. “The team approach to care is what distinguishes our program,” said Medical Director Oscar Paz-Altschul, MD. “We have physicians from various specialties – including wound specialists, vascular surgeons and foot-and-ankle surgeons – available to review each case and determine the clinical approach that has the best opportunity for successfully healing the wound.”

For many diabetic patients with ulcers and poor circulation, a combination of HBOT and surgical procedures to restore blood flow can save a limb. HBOT accelerates the body’s natural healing process by delivering 100% pure oxygen under pressure greater than sea-level, which studies show directs oxygen to the tissues and body systems affected by injury, infection or disease. It can also promote the growth of new blood vessels in these areas. Patients simply breathe in the oxygen while placed in a comfortable chamber.

“This really takes wound care to the next level for our outpatient population,” says Program Director Katie Schnaser, FACHE. Since the centers opened in January, they have seen a variety of wounds including diabetic foot ulcers, venous ulcers, vascular wounds, and pressure ulcers. “Our new diagnostic testing equipment allows us to measure the blood flow and oxygen reaching the affected area, which is important because we really want to go beyond the treatment of the wound and identify the root of the problem.”

The Advanced Wound Healing Center at Desert Regional is part of the Amputation Prevention Centers of America, a network of wound healing centers devoted to the avoidance of amputations among the growing number of people in the country who suffer from the complications of diabetes or peripheral arterial disease. Desert Regional locations include 47647 Caleo Bay Drive, Suite 110 in the La Quinta Medical Center and 1180 N. Indian Canyon Drive in the El Mirador Medical Plaza on the main campus in Palm Springs.

For information and appointments call (760) 323-HEAL (4325).

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