– (Abigail Maki) - Jamestown Regional Medical Center launched the
first hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber in the state this past fall.
hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), patients enter a special chamber
and breathe concentrated oxygen. The pure oxygen fills the blood and
helps repair tissues. HBOT helps patients suffering from
chronic wounds, diabetic wounds, burns and infections.
“The need for chronic
wound care is growing,” said Randy Perkins, FNP for JRMC’s Wound
Center. “Caring for wounds that won’t heal is costly for patients
and insurance programs.”
According to the National
Institute of Health, chronic wounds affect more than 6.5 million
patients in the U.S. each year. Those individuals and their insurance
providers spend more than $25 billion on treatment. Operating
part-time only, JRMC’s Wound Center helped over 300 people in
2016.With the national and local demand for
wound care growing, JRMC increased its staff to meet the demand and
expects patient numbers to grow in 2017 as the available
HBOT therapy is useful
for conditions including: bone infections, ulcers, anemia and
“People with diabetes
and vascular disease struggle with circulation to the lower
extremities,” said Amanda Lausch, FNP at the JRMC Wound Center.
“HBOT is an option for them – an option that may save their limb
from amputation. That makes a huge impact on a person’s quality of
JRMC is also developing
treatment options for injuries like carbon monoxide poisoning and
burns. “HBOT is a common form of therapy for
firefighters, coal miners and cancer patients” Lausch said.
Candidates for HBOT have
tried other therapies without satisfactory results. Unfortunately,
HBOT is often seen as a last-resort and shouldn’t be.
“Some wounds won’t
heal even after three or four years," she said. "Without
appropriate care at a Wound Center, they may never heal."
After North Dakota, the
nearest places to receive HBOT are Montana, Minnesota and South
Dakota. In addition to geography, another barrier to care is
insurance. Medicaid, Medicare and insurance companies cover HBOT in
most cases, but it can still be a barrier for some patients. Patients
interested in HBOT should contact the wound clinic at (701) 952-
information, visit www.jrmcnd.com
or call 952-4878.