Healthwatch: Wound Care Is Specialty

Many patients who come to The Specialty Hospital of Meridian for treatment of wounds have other health issues as well.

Dr. James Gleaves says the care offered is specialized. It may include physical therapy as well.

"The patient invariably has numerous other problems that contribute to the wound itself, such as nutritional problems and diabetic problems," said Gleaves. "Hypertension. Smoking. Things like that. Their physical abilities, whether or not they can or cannot move. They can roll. Their surfaces of the beds they sit on, the chairs. Things that all contribute to a wound."

According to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, over 346,000 people in the state have been diagnosed with diabetes. A significant number will develop foot problems. And when wounds are involved, they are difficult to heal.

"We do a lot of surgeries. We swing flaps and do a lot of skin grafts, a lot of surgical debridements of the wounds. They also can be all done here through The Specialty Hospital," Gleaves said.

The Specialty Hospital caters to patients who need a longer stay or have more complex medical needs.

"The average patient for a wound probably stays here 3 or 4 weeks. We have two goals. One, we'd like to get all the wounds well," said Gleaves. "So many of these wounds just need to have a nutritional or metabolic jump start plus some local care to the wounds."

An interdisciplinary team involving every aspect of patient care meets each week to discuss patients' needs and progress. That leads to the second goal....getting patients home with a higher quality of life.

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