Center for Advanced Wound Healing Story
The Center for Advanced Wound Healing at Memorial treats any chronic, non-healing wound or sore that has not significantly improved from conventional treatments. Memorial Hospital’s Wound Center is located on the Belleville campus in Medical Office Center Two, Suite 160, and offers an array of methods to treat chronic wounds.
“Patients come and see us on a regular basis,” said Susan Litteken, Center for Advanced Wound Healing program director. “We can see patients weekly or monthly depending on the type of wound we’re working with, and we provide all kinds of different advanced modalities, whether we’re debriding (cleaning) a wound or applying compression wraps.”
Litteken said they offer wound care techniques such as cellular tissue-based products or skin substitutes, and patients have access to a hyperbaric chamber through other BJC hospitals.
“Hyperbaric is an advanced treatment where the patient sits inside a hyperbaric chamber for 2 hours breathing 100% oxygen, allowing good, oxygenated blood flow to the wound to assist with healing,” she said.
Litteken said they see a wide range of patients at the Wound Center, such as post-operative patients, diabetics with foot wounds, and people with underlying conditions that won’t allow proper healing of their wound or sore.
“There are some very interesting cases that come up in the Wound Center,” she said. “Something the patient thought was a boil or something insignificant turns into a massive wound that just won’t heal. I always tell anybody, if you have an open area on your body, and it won’t heal, come to us.”
Kally de Bruijne came to the Wound Center as a patient in the fall of 2021 after being bitten by a brown recluse spider the day of her wedding.
“When I first arrived at the wound clinic, I was desperate for help,” de Bruijne said. “I had been to numerous doctor appointments, all with no solution on how to handle my wound. When I came to the wound clinic at Memorial, it was the first time I was given any confidence on how to heal my wound and ease the excruciating pain I was in.”
De Bruijne said her spider bite was an extremely traumatic experience that kept her sick and in pain for months. She said the wound center staff helped to keep her calm and gave her hope for healing.
“The best part of my experience was the confidence and care I received from the entire staff,” she said. “My dressing changes were extremely painful, and the staff always made sure I had everything I needed to be comfortable, and that kept me relaxed to know I was in good hands.”
De Bruijne said she never thought she would ever have the need for a wound center, but she ended up a patient for five months. She completed her treatment in February 2022 and said her incident could happen to anyone in our community.
“Living in the Midwest, brown recluse spiders are easy to come across,” she said. “Having this amazing clinic in our community gives me peace knowing that anyone in a similar situation will be well taken care of.”
Litteken said the wound center invests a lot into training their nurses to provide the highest quality of care that includes newest procedures and technology.
“Nurses complete a 40-hour training with a lot of hands-on education,” Litteken said. “Then we provide continued training for six months and an additional session after that to help pull it all together.”
A new technique the center has implemented recently is contact casting, and Litteken said the providers are excited about the positive results they’re seeing.
“Contact casting is a form of a cast that we change out weekly,” she said. “We put on a couple different foam dressings first and then cut an area out around the wound before applying the casting material, so that when the patient is mobile, the amount of pressure they’re putting down on their foot goes everywhere but on the wound.”
The Center opened in June 2021 seeing patients one day per week. Now, the Center sees patients five days per week, allowing for more community access and optimism for healing. De Bruijne said the Wound Center played a huge positive role in her wound healing journey.
“I truly feel like each and every staff member treated me as if I was a family member or loved one,” she said. “From the moment you walk in the doors, you are greeted by the friendliest smile. The way the staff cares for their patients is like nothing I have ever experienced in any medical facility. I am so thankful I ended up at this wound clinic. They turned my traumatic situation into a triumph.”
For more information about the Center for Advanced Wound Healing at Memorial, you can visit www.memhosp.org/wound-healing or call (618)825-9272.