SUMMIT – Overlook Hospital’s Wound Healing Program was recently accredited by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society and certified in wound care by the Joint Commission – two high honors that highlight the program’s success in helping patients heal faster using a combination of state-of-the-art technology and complementary techniques.
The Wound Healing Program in June became the first in New Jersey to be certified for wound healing by the Joint Commission, while the hyperbaric program, part of Overlook’s Wound Healing Center, is only the third in New Jersey to be accredited by the UHMS. Overlook’s sister hospital, Morristown Memorial Hospital, also part of Atlantic Health, became the first hyperbaric program in New Jersey to be accredited, in 2007.
“Earning the coveted UHMS and Joint Commission accreditations demonstrates our strong commitment to high-quality patient care and safety,” said David Eisenbud, MD, MBA, FACS, medical director of the Wound Healing Program. “We believe that our outstanding wound healing results, our excellence in teaching and our prominence in clinical research have established Overlook Hospital’s Wound Healing Center as the premier healing program in the state.”
In 2008, the Wound Healing Program moved into its own center located in Overlook’s Medical Arts Center II, providing a dedicated space in which to deliver more comprehensive wound healing services, including two hyperbaric chambers added later that year. In addition to traditional wound and ostomy care and hyperbaric treatment, the center offers diabetic and nutritional counseling, podiatry, physical therapy, pain management and complementary medicine.
Since then, Overlook Hospital’s Wound Healing Program has grown rapidly. The program currently serves nearly 600 patients each year, with an average of about 500 inpatient visits each month. From 2007 through 2009, the program saw a 53.5 percent growth in new patients and a 67 percent growth in volume.
“We have a valued, synergistic relationship with our patients,” said Denise Malinowski, RN, BSN, CWCA, nurse manager for the Wound Healing Program. “Many aspects of the program’s development have been guided by their feedback, and the rapid growth in patient volume, bolstered by high patient satisfaction, confirms that we are fulfilling the needs of our patients and the community.”
Patients in the program average 43 days from the time they come into the center for the first time to the time they are healed. The national benchmark is 65 days to healing. The program has also established itself as a center of education in wound healing through its annual symposium, which draws experts in the field to Overlook. The third annual Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine seminar is scheduled for October 29, 2010.
The center is also the site of numerous trials, offering innovative new methods of treating wounds. Some of these studies include the ARANZ trial, which utilizes a specialized camera to measure and track the size of wounds, and another trial in which living cells taken from the foreskin of a newborn baby are sprayed onto wounds to stimulate skin growth.
“Our approach has been to consider every aspect of a patient’s life to identify the specific barriers that prevents him or her from healing, and determine how best to overcome those barriers by using a variety of advanced and complementary techniques and exploring dynamic new ways of healing,” Malinowski said.
The Joint Commission’s Disease-Specific Care Certification Program, launched in 2002, is designed to evaluate clinical programs across the continuum of care. The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society is a non-profit organization established in 1967 consisting of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, seeking to achieve communication, cooperation, education and promotion of quality care for the hyperbaric patient.
Since 2001, the UHMS has accredited clinical hyperbaric medicine facilities as a way to highlight exemplary programs in the absence of nationally mandated requirements for private hyperbaric chamber operators, despite a growing number of hospital and privately-run hyperbaric services. Receiving Clinical Hyperbaric Facility Accreditation from the UHMS indicates that a facility meets high patient care and safety standards, are staffed with well-trained specialists and use quality equipment that has been properly installed, maintained and operated.
For more information about the Wound Healing Program at Overlook Hospital, visit: http://www.atlantichealth.org/Overlook/Patient+Care+Services/Wound+Healing.
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