A month after giving birth to her son, Amanda Ludwig met with her doctor at Beatrice Community Hospital to find that she’d developed a hematoma above her cesarean section incision.
Ludwig went into surgery, and was given a wound vacuum-assisted closure.
A wound VAC removes pressure over the area of the wound and can help a wound heal by gently pulling fluid from the wound over time. This can reduce swelling, may help clean the wound and stimulate new tissue growth, and helps pull the edges of the wound together.
Three times a week for roughly a month, Ludwig returned to the hospital to have the wound cleaned and changed.
BCH’s new wound and ostomy services allowed Ludwig to be treated in Beatrice. Otherwise, she would have been referred to Lincoln, which causes complications with time and transportation.
Makayla Wiese, an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in Wound Care Services at BCH, said they were previously treating wounds at the hospital, but that a full-service line was needed due to the specialization of wound and ostomy care.
“Primary care providers were doing what they could, but then when it got to that certain point, then they would transfer to Lincoln because it wasn’t healing or there was a complication,” Wiese said. “There’s millions of products out there to treat both, and it’s hard to stay on top of that and stay on top of treatment options…But with the specialization here, we just now can provide the most up-to-date, most evidence-based wound and ostomy care.”
Ludwig said it was convenient to have the wound care at her regular hospital.
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“I was really grateful to have all those services in one area, because above and beyond just having the wound care right there, there was the fact that they could all see my same charts,” Ludwig said. “My OB-GYN could see my charts and see the progression of how my wound was looking…They know me by name, they know my son by name, and that was really comforting. Something that makes you feel better when you have to go in for a procedure.”
The wounds can vary from ulcers to pressure injuries, simple burns, ulcers or surgical wounds that aren’t healing.
They also provide stoma site marking and complications and skin care, pouching techniques and appliance refitting for ostomies. Ostomies cause a change in the way urine or stool exits the body as a result of a surgical procedure, and Wiese wound care and specialized knowledge for products are needed in those cases, as well.
Since the services were introduced in May, 90 patients’ wounds have been seen, healed or otherwise taken care of at BCH.
“We knew there was a need in the community, but we have been pleasantly surprised by how busy we have been. We don’t want people to have wounds or troubles, but we’re happy to be here for them when they do,” Wiese said.
Wiese said that the wound and ostomy services see inpatients and outpatients, pediatrics and home health care users, but that each patient needs a referral through their primary care doctor or calling BCH at 1-402-223-7275.
Wiese said the services are growing rapidly, and that a future goal is to have enough staffing so nursing home patients wouldn’t have to travel to receive wound or ostomy care.
“Beatrice is big enough to have the services that we need available, but then we’re also small enough to have that small-town feel where we can all communicate and work closely together, which is awesome,” Wiese said. “It’s really great for the patients.”