The way of the future

Advancements made in the treatment of wounds

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ UnityPoint Health’s Wound Healing Center, located at 55 Central Iowa Dr., treats a variety of types of wounds. Pictured is a patient inside one of the facility’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) chambers, which allows for greater-than-normal atmospheric pressure, letting patients breathe pure oxygen, that in turn, saturates the blood plasma to help heal the body’s tissues. RN Andrea Petermeier (pictured) talks to a patient during a session, via a telephone system.

Around eight million Americans suffer from chronic wounds. Diabetic ulcers, burns, surgical or traumatic wounds, or even sores that just won’t heal fully, can all be treated, using a variety of state-of-the-art techniques and therapies. At UnityPoint Health’s Wound Healing Center, located at 55 Central Iowa Dr., progress is being made in diagnosing, treating, and helping to prevent serious wounds.

“Some people live with these chronic wounds and think they’ll get better on their own, but they don’t,” said Wound Care Director Chanda Bovenmyer. “A lot of people don’t know they have options.”

Wounds and burns sustained in accidents are two types of injuries commonly associated with this type of treatment, but a variety of patients can benefit from care.

“We treat people who have diabetic ulcers, venous insufficiency (when blood pools in the legs), wounds from surgeries, vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels), compromised skin grafts, flaps from amputations, and more,” Bovenmyer said.

One relatively new form of treatment Bovenmyer is particularly pleased to have at the center is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. It works by having patients lay in an enclosed chamber at greater-than-normal atmospheric pressure, breathing pure oxygen, that in turn, saturates the blood plasma.

“It creates new blood vessels, which in turn, create new tissue,” she said. “It’s not just for open wounds you can see, but internal ones too caused by radiation therapy.”

In Bovenmyer’s 3-1/2 years in wound care (and 20 total in healthcare), she has seen a diversity of wounds.

“We treated a man once who had had heart surgery, and had an incision down his front. He got an abdominal wound [from the incisions] that was so big, you could put your entire fist and arm inside it,” she recalled. “But with the appropriate care, the wound healed.”

The Wound Healing Center, which is the only facility of its kind in Marshalltown, has a healing rate of 95.41 percent and a patient satisfaction rating of 96.34 percent. On average, patients take 23 days to heal.

How does the facility sustain these rates?

“We’re part of a national company called Healogics, that collects data from all its centers and follows evidence-based treatment,” Bovenmyer said. “People think we only treat and dress wounds, but we actually try to find the underlying causes of why a patient has the wounds, and we try to prevent them in the future … It’s all about helping patients get back to the normal activities of life.”

To learn more, contact Bovenmyer at: 641-754-8025 or: