Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center announced plans Monday to meet the area's growing need for specialized wound treatment by implementing a comprehensive wound care program on its downtown campus.
The centerpiece of the program will be a new wound care center with two hyperbaric chambers that will allow patients to receive 100 percent oxygen to speed the healing of their wounds, thereby providing a more advanced treatment option for those who qualify for the procedure.
A certificate of need application for the program has been filed with the state health department. The center is scheduled to open in October, pending regulatory approval.
The Niagara Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center will offer advanced healing therapies, proven clinical protocols, individual patient treatment plans and a disease-management approach to wound healing.
"This new center is another example of our commitment to providing our patients with the highest quality care," said Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. "We see a tremendous need that is not being met and we're excited about providing this comprehensive care."
The center is being developed in conjunction with The Center for Wound Healing Inc., one of the country's leaders in comprehensive wound management programs.
"Our physicians identified a significant need and our research verified there is a considerable population of patients not being served who would benefit from this care," Ruffolo said. "This advanced treatment is the most cost-effective approach available for providing wound care to diabetics and the elderly. Its use prevents hospital admissions and readmissions and reduces emergency room visits by those patients."
Wound care programs specialize in treating chronic or problem wounds, typically those that fail to respond to conventional treatment within 30 days. Such wounds are typically associated with medical conditions such as diabetes, poor circulation and immobility.
When those wounds persist, specialized care is required for healing to allow patients to resume their normal lifestyle activities.
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers work by surrounding the patient with 100 percent oxygen at higher-than-normal atmospheric pressure. This increase in the amount of oxygen stimulates the tissues and helps the wounds heal more quickly.
Under the direction of Michael Mitchell, M.D., a vascular surgeon and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Niagara Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center will offer a multidisciplinary approach to chronic wound issues with board-certified physicians specializing in general surgery, plastic surgery and vascular surgery.
"Besides having the only diabetes and endocrinology center in the area, Memorial has the skilled medical specialists necessary to support a robust, comprehensive wound care program," Ruffolo said. "In addition to our surgeons, those specialties will include endocrinology, podiatry, primary care, infectious disease prevention and, of course, hyperbaric medicine."
"People with slow-healing wounds that have not gotten better with other treatments no longer have to suffer," Mitchell said. "Using leading-edge technologies, the team at Niagara Falls Memorial is completely devoted to healing problem wounds and to helping restore overall health."
Niagara Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine Center will be located in Memorial's medical office complex on the seventh floor at 620 10th St., across the street from the hospital. A $700,000 investment will be made to renovate and equip the center, which will create five jobs.