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Wound Recovery and Hyperbaric Medicine

The Wound Recovery and Hyperbaric Medicine Center

Welcome to Kent Hospital Comprehensive Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center. We’re dedicated to healing wounds, preventing lower limb loss and optimizing outcomes for our patients. If you or a loved one has a wound that is of concern or is not healing properly, we encourage you to visit the wound center for an evaluation.

A wound that is not healing properly may be complicated by underlying conditions such as diabetes, circulation problems or previous radiation treatment. Sometimes, the simplest of wounds can turn into a significant problem because the body’s normal healing process is affected. Other types of hard-to-heal wounds result from pressure, trauma or infection. Non-healing wounds can have serious health consequences and may adversely affect your quality of life.

The Wound Recovery and Hyperbaric Medicine Center at Kent Hospital is convenient to Providence and surrounding communities and has access to all hospital resources and the Care New England Health System. The hospital medical staff has an extensive array of specialists in virtually every medical-surgical category.

Contact Information

Wound Recovery and Hyperbaric Medicine Center
15 Health Lane, Building 2-D
Warwick, RI 02886
P: (401) 736-4646

Hours
The Wound Recovery and Hyperbaric Medicine Center is open Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy service per provider availability.

Our services are covered by most insurance plans.

What is a 'Wound Recovery Center'?

 

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

 
Types of Wounds Treated

As a comprehensive wound healing center, we specialize in the treatment of all types of non-healing and difficult-to-heal wounds including:

  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Venous ulcers
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Non-healing, surgical wounds
  • Arterial/ischemic ulcers
  • Late effects of radiation (i.e., radiation cystitis, proctitis or external wound)
  • Traumatic wounds
  • Infected wounds
  • Crush injuries
  • Compromised flaps or grafts
Wound Care Treatments Provided
  • Hyperbaric medicine using Rhode Island's newest technology
  • Refined and thorough surgical wound debridement or cleaning
  • Pain-reducing wound dressing
  • Bioactive substances- collagen, copper peptides and time-released silver dressings
  • Infection control
  • Advanced wound contact layers and edema reduction techniques
  • Comprehensive wound care related pain management
  • Ostomy care-appliance fitting, management and incontinence therapy
  • On-site consultations from allied subspecialists
  • Advanced bio-engineered skin grafting

About Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The Healing Power of Oxygen

Kent Hospital offers Rhode Island's largest and newest hyperbaric medicine program. Now in use each day at the Wound Recovery and Hyperbaric Medicine Center, these state-of-the-art HBO chambers use oxygen under pressure to treat hard-to-heal wounds and other chronic conditions such as:

  • Diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Radiation tissue/bone damage.
  • Radiation cystitis/proctitis.
  • Prophylactic treatment of irradiated tissue prior to surgery.
  • Compromised grafts and flaps.
  • Chronic osteomyelitis.
  • Traumatic ischemia, crush injury.

The hyperbaric oxygen units, sometimes called "dive chambers", at Kent Hospital utilize a special, strong plastic shell that allows a patient to comfortably recline during treatment. Patients listen to music, watch television or movies. Hyperbaric clinicians maintain constant visual and audio contact to enhance comfort during treatment.

What is hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment in which the patient breathes 100% pure oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber. The air pressure inside a hyperbaric oxygen chamber is about two and a half times greater than the normal pressure in the atmosphere. This “hyperbaric” (or high pressure) dose of oxygen helps your blood carry more oxygen to your organs and tissues to promote wound healing. It also activates the white blood cells to fight infection.

Patients typically receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy five days a week for approximately four to six weeks. One treatment takes about two hours and is quite comfortable for most patients.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be used as part of the treatment for certain conditions, including the following:

  • Slow to heal or non-healing wounds
  • Diabetic foot ulcers or leg ulcers
  • Non-healing skin grafts or surgical flaps
  • Surgical wounds that have opened
  • Symptoms occurring on or around a point of radiation (such as pain, rectal or bladder bleeding)
  • Chronic bone infections (osteomyelitis)
  • Crush injuries
  • Certain types of sudden hearing loss
  • Sudden vision loss
  • Thermal burns
How does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work?
  • oxygen tension in hypoxic tissues
  • vasoconstriction
  • cytotoxic effects
What are accepted indications?
The following is a partial list of conditions that have been approved for hyperbaric oxygen therapy by Medicare, the International Hyperbaric Medical Association (IHMA), the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), and the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM). It is very important to note that each organization has its own list of approved indications and the following list is a combination of those lists and not an approved list from any one organization listed here. In most cases, medical insurance carriers (including Medicare and Medicaid) provide coverage for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Multidisciplinary Wound Care Specialists

Our wound healing center is staffed with a multidisciplinary team of physicians, along with nurses and technicians with advanced training in wound care, who will customize the most effective treatment plan to stimulate healing.

Comprised of general physicians, vascular and plastic surgeons, podiatrists and infectious disease physicians, our team is dedicated to providing the most advanced healing options to patients, allowing them to recover as quickly and completely as possible.

As wound healing specialists, our clinicians have a proven track record of healing wounds – even those that have not responded to other treatments.

Emergency Uses
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Cyanide
  • Cerebral arterial gas embolism
  • Decompression sickness
  • Exceptional blood loss anemia
  • Necrotizing soft tissue infections (necrotizing fasciitis)
  • Gas gangrene
  • Crush injury; compartment syndrome
  • Reattachment and suturing of limbs
  • Acute Peripheral ischemia (including compartment syndrome)
  • Thermal burns
Chronic Conditions
  • Enhancement of healing in selected problem wounds
  • Compromised skin graft flaps. Radiation necrosis
  • Refractory osteomyelitis. Refractory mycoses
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Complications due to radiation treatment for cancer

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy should not be a replacement for standard therapeutic measures. Depending on the response of the individual patient and the severity of the condition, treatment may range from less than one week to several months, the average being four to six weeks.

What is the hyperbaric chamber?
Our hyperbaric chamber is a steel and acrylic cylinder in which air can be compressed to a pressure that is greater than sea level. Most patients are treated at a pressure equivalent to two or two and a half times normal atmospheric pressure. Our 34-inch wide clear acrylic chamber provides a relaxing, non-claustrophobic setting. They are equipped with a comfortable stretcher which can be reclined or placed in a flat position. To further enhance patient comfort, music or movies can be played during treatments. Whenever the chamber is in use, medical personnel trained in hyperbarics are in constant contact via visual or audio communications.
How does a doctor prescribe HBO therapy?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is offered as a referral and consultation service. Referrals are telephoned or faxed to the Wound Recovery Center. A consultation appointment will be made for the patient once appropriate case documentation has been received. Referring physicians receive progress reports during treatment. Supportive clinical research is also available to interested health care professionals.
How will the treatment feel?
At the beginning of treatment (commonly referred to as a dive) you will feel the change in pressure in your ears (similar to the feeling you have while in an airplane). To equalize the pressure and avoid a feeling of fullness in your ears, you will be instructed how to equalize the pressure in your ears. By holding your nose and attempting to blow through it, or simply swallowing, air can be allowed to enter the middle ear cavity via the Eustachian tube. It is only necessary to do this during the first few minutes of the treatment. The remainder of your treatment should be a time for you to sleep, watch TV, or just relax. Patients of all ages generally tolerate the treatments very well.
Are there any side effects?
The most common side effect is barotrauma to the ears and sinuses caused by pressure changes. To minimize this risk, patients learn techniques to promote adequate clearing of the ears during compression. Other side effects are more rare, but may include oxygen toxicity, claustrophobia, and among diabetic patients, a drop in blood glucose. Occasionally some patients experience minor visual changes after several treatments, which is rare and self-correcting after the treatment ends. Other side effects are extremely rare.
Are there any other conditions where HBO therapy may not be appropriate?

Yes. Each patient is evaluated to determine the relative risks and benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy prior to treatment.

What if I am a smoker?
To receive the maximum benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients are encouraged not to smoke during the course of therapy. Smoking (even one cigarette) causes blood vessels to constrict, which decreases the blood and oxygen supply to tissue, counteracting the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen.
What should I do to prepare for a treatment?

After referral by your doctor and evaluation by a hyperbaric medicine specialist, you will be given detailed instructions. You will be asked not to wear the following materials while in the chamber:

  • Hair oils.
  • Hair spray.
  • Perfumes.
  • Make-up.
  • Ointments.
  • Liniments.
  • Petroleum or Vaseline products.
  • Wigs or hair pieces.
  • After shave.
  • Synthetics (e.g. rayon, nylon, etc.).
  • Salves.

Watches are not worn in the chamber because they may break under the increased pressure. Because the therapy involves 100 percent oxygen, any form of smoking material, lighters or matches are STRICTLY prohibited in the chamber and should not be used during therapy. Anything not specifically allowed in the chamber must not be taken in under any circumstances.

During your treatment, you may watch television, a movie or take a nap. You will be given a hospital gown to wear in the chamber.  Most pacemakers are allowed in the chamber. The hyperbaric technologist will need to know if you are taking any medications, including non-prescription drugs. You are advised not to drink alcohol or carbonated beverages for four hours prior to treatment. 

Smoking and the use of tobacco products interferes with the body’s ability to transport oxygen. Therefore, your doctor will work with you on techniques to help stop smoking during the treatment period.

Following your treatment plan is the single most important factor in your healing.

 

 

Wound Care Treatment Plans

Our approach to wound care is aggressive and comprehensive, coordinating traditional and advanced therapies and techniques that are proven to reduce healing time and improve healing rates.

Since non-healing wounds rarely result from a single cause, we begin with a thorough evaluation and diagnostic testing to determine the underlying cause of the wound. A treatment plan is then developed to give patients the best chance for healing. Most treatments are covered by Medicare/Medicaid, HMOs and other private insurance. Depending on the type of wound, the treatment plan may include:

  • Infection control
  • Restoration of blood flow
  • Debridement (removal of dead tissue)
  • Offloading
  • Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy
  • Cellular and/or tissue-based products (skin substitutes)
  • Compression therapy
  • Foot reconstruction
  • Skin graft or flap
What are the treatment protocols?
The attending physician establishes treatment protocols. Oxygen when breathed under increased atmospheric pressure is a potent medicine with potential side effects. Safe time, dose, and depth limits have been established for hyperbaric oxygen exposure, and these limitations form the basis for today's treatment protocols. With the exception of carbon monoxide and/or cyanide poisoning, decompression sickness and cerebral arterial gas embolism, treatments last approximately two hours. Treatment is usually once a day five days per week. Treatment for the most acute cases is approximately 10 days, while chronic cases may require treatment for 30 days or more, and can be administered on an outpatient or inpatient basis. While receiving therapy, the critically ill patient may be provided with mechanical ventilation, IV therapy and invasive and noninvasive physiologic monitoring.
What are treatment schedules like?

It greatly depends on the nature of the illness and the facility. Patients with wound healing problems usually require about 30 treatments, Monday through Friday. Patients with acute diseases such as decompression illness or carbon monoxide poisoning usually need only one to two treatments. Treatments are not usually scheduled on weekends or holidays. Emergency treatments are administered at any time, 365 days per year.

Further information can be obtained by calling the Wound Recovery Center at Kent Hospital at 401-736-4646 or by visiting the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine Society website.