Wound Care Center opens at Middleboro ARH Hospital

Published 4:40 pm Monday, June 3, 2024

Middlesboro ARH Hospital celebrated the opening of its new state-of-the-art Wound Care Center with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday. The center, located on the hospital’s third floor, is a partnership between ARH and Healogics, which operates a network of more than 600 wound care centers throughout the country.

Middlesboro ARH CEO Michael Slusher said the center’s cutting-edge technology and expert medical staff will ensure that patients receive the highest quality care close to home.

“We’ve renovated a large portion of the hospital’s third floor for our state-of-the-art Wound Care Center, which includes hyperbaric therapy,” Slusher said. “Our Wound Care Center will dramatically improve the rate at which healing occurs and assist patients in getting back to normal life as quickly as possible.”

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Corey Eldridge, the hospital’s assistant administrator, welcomed the Bell County Chamber of Commerce, staff from ARH and Healogics and interested members of the community to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“I’m grateful and excited to announce this much-needed service in our hospital. Currently Bell County has the fourth-highest diabetic instance rate in the state and the closest wound care clinic with hyperbaric services is 45 minutes to Harlan or an hour to Morristown,” he said. “Given our patient population and socioeconomic status, that distance alone is often a deciding factor for whether or not they receive proper treatment. Distance is no longer a consideration as we are offering those services right here at Middlesboro ARH.”

An estimated 6.7 million people in the U.S. are affected by chronic wounds. That number is rising, fueled by an aging population and increasing rates of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and the late effects of radiation therapy.  If left untreated, chronic wounds can lead to diminished quality of life and possibly amputation of the affected limb.

Wound Care Center Program Director Candice Green said it offers an evidence-based, systematic approach to advanced wound care. She stressed the importance of timely care for patients with non-healing wounds.

“(With this center) we can treat the wounds as early as possible in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients,” she said. “ARH has partnered with Healogics, the nation’s leading wound care expert, to bring hope and help eliminate this barrier for our community.”

Likely candidates for treatment at the Center, Green said, are patients suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps, and wounds that haven’t healed within a reasonable time frame. Those with wounds that have not improved with traditional treatment methods may benefit from a visit to Middlesboro ARH Wound Care Center.

A patient’s individualized treatment plan might include specialized wound dressings, debridement, compression therapy, advanced cellular products and topical growth factors, edema management, or non-invasive vascular assessment. These treatments result from a team approach between the Center’s physicians, nurses, and the referring physician. A treatment plan is developed and scheduled based on the patient’s needs. Once treatment is complete, the patient will return to their primary physician to continue routine care.

“Our Wound Care specialists provide world-class care using evidence-based protocols,” she said. “By following these proven protocols, our dedicated and caring team aims to accelerate the healing process for patients, ultimately improving the quality of life and offering hope for a better future.”

The Wound Care Center also offers Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treatment, which helps promote wound healing by bringing oxygen-rich plasma to tissue starved of oxygen. The treatment requires patients to spend 60 to 90 minutes in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber up to five days a week.

“Our chambers can be used to treat diabetic wounds, bone infection and radiation injuries,” Green said. “I eagerly anticipate the patient healing stories that we will have six months or a year down the road when the team can reflect back and see the lives we’ve been able to impact.”

Stephanie Latham of Healogics said the company was excited to partner with ARH to bring advanced wound care to the Middlesboro community.

“Our mission is simple — find the patients, treat them using our advanced modalities, and get them to heal,” she said.

ARH Regional CEO Richard Roehr said he has partnered with Healogics on several wound care centers over his 25 years working in medicine.

“ I have seen and bared witness to what the outcomes can be for the patients who are going to get served by this center today and for years to come,” he said. “It takes a very caring set of people to move through caring for wounds and keeping them safe and healthy. I am very confident that we have the right team and the right set of people on hand to take care of this.”

Roehr added that he was proud to be a part of ARH and all of the services they are bringing to Middlesboro, including the Wound Care Center and the recently announced cancer center.

“This latest addition to Middlesboro ARH reflects ARH’s commitment to delivering top-notch healthcare options for our community,” Slusher said. “We’re thrilled to provide this local option to the many patients who so desperately need and will benefit greatly from this service and look forward to helping make their healing journey quicker and more comfortable.”

Thursday’s ceremony included an invocation by Rev. Chuck Shroll, a member of the hospital’s advisory council; guided tours of the treatment rooms and refreshments.