The services at the wound care program at Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca are growing.
The department now offers ostomy care and has extended hours to meet a growing demand for wound care. “Wound care at Riverside combines state-of-the-art services with a small-town feel,” said Gary Edelman, MD, a surgeon and medical advisor of the wound care program. “Staff are very responsive to concerns of the patients and referring physicians.”
Tina Carlson, one of the registered nurses who is wound care certified, recently completed the course and certification examination to become an Ostomy Management Specialist. (OMS) She said the specialty was a good fit to compliment her role as certified wound care nurse. “There’s definitely a need here in the Waupaca area,” she said.
Ostomy care is needed when someone has a GI issue, small bowel issue, Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer, bladder cancer or other issues.
“They need a temporary or long term surgical diversion,” she said, noting it is done through a surgery that reroutes the large or small bowel, or urinary pathway out to the surface of the body. A stoma is surgically created for a pouch for collecting the fecal or urinary matter.
An ostomy can occur in any age range, from infants to elderly. Carlson’s role is to make sure the patient does not develop any skin issues. “I help the surgeon plan for an ostomysystem that is comfortable for them,” she said. “We want to make sure there is a proper fit so they don’t develop any issues down the road.” Carlson also works with patients with existing ostomies to make sure they are as comfortable as possible over time.
She also helps emotionally support the patients. “It’s something that not a lot of people like to talk about,” she said.
Carlson said word about the ostomy care services in Waupaca is just starting to spread. “It’s very, very new,” she said, noting she has had several patients already. “We are hoping that we can get the word out so that we can help those people who have had to travel to Appleton or Stevens Point. They will now have a closer resource.” Statistics show that 800,000 to 1,000,000 people in North America live with an ostomy, and annually there are 120,000 ostomy surgeries in the United States.
In the near future, she hopes to see if there is a need for a support group. “It can be emotionally taxing to have an ostomy,” she said. “You don’t know who may be standing next to you who may have an ostomy, and need support.”
Carlson said wound care is an important service in the Waupaca area. “Prior to the wound care services in Waupaca, doctors and the nursing staff did not have the level of support they do now, to help with a diverse variety of chronic wounds. The wound care nurses are highly educated in all aspects of wound healing and treatments, and are considered specialists. We have the resources and the information and keep on top with what is current.”
Due to increasing demand for wound care services, the department is now open Monday through Friday. “This is a big improvement and should make it easier for patients to get in to our clinic,” said Marci Reynolds, the supervisor of the Health and Wellness department, of which Outpatient Wound Care is a part. The new hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday and Thursday.
The Outpatient Wound Care department is located in the 900 Building at Riverside Drive on the Thedacare Campus in Waupaca. Patients are seen by referral from their provider on an appointment basis. For more information, call 715-258-1183.