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Daemen Wound Care Clinic Tackling a Problem of Global Importance

In the U.S. alone, two percent of the general population is affected annually by chronic, non-healing wounds, at an estimated cost of $50 billion to the U.S. health care system. The toll is also enormous in human terms.

Chronic wounds often lead to complications including decreased mobility, loss of limb, or even death. They can appear overnight, sometimes for reasons that are not immediately apparent, and can often stubbornly resist efforts to promote healing. Under traditional wound care treatments, costs of care can range as high as $200,000 for a single wound.

In early fall 2012, the Daemen College Physical Therapy Wound Care Clinic began serving individuals in Western New York who suffer from chronic wounds. Since opening in mid-September, the Clinic has evaluated over 140 individuals; over one quarter of the patients have been discharged with their wounds completely closed.

Daemen’s model for the Clinic, focused on developing a collaborative approach and standard for chronic wound healing, is strongly supported by The John R. Oishei Foundation, which has awarded more than $530,000 in support funding for the project to the College.

As a result, wound care treatments are administered free of charge to the public for the Clinic’s two year demonstration period. The goal of the period is to provide an opportunity to gather medical data on each treatment, in an effort to ultimately cut time, patient suffering, and cost of care.

“Our goal is to provide high quality care to individuals in Western New York who are suffering from chronic wounds at the least amount of cost to patients,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson.

“We want to bring down the cost of treatment while providing specialized care at an advanced level to address the growing incidences of chronic wounds – in Western New York, nationally, and globally.”

With the rising age of the population, Western New York will see the number of individuals affected by chronic wounds increase significantly.

The College is focused on developing a standard for how chronic wound healing care can be provided in the most effective and successful manner to patients everywhere.

“We want to know what’s going on inside, what happens when you apply a treatment,” said Daemen Vice President for Academic Affairs Michael S. Brogan, D.P.T., Ph.D.

“Infections are now much more resistant to anti-biotics – we’ve gone from one drug to two, sometimes three, necessary to kill an infection brought on by a wound. What if you could swab a wound, and determine, quickly and accurately from subsequent tests, the progress or likelihood of that wound healing? What will ultimately reduce the risk for infection? That’s one of goals we’re working toward.”

Daemen has already procured over $3.8 million in funding from industry, private foundations, and the federal government to support wound care research, enabling the College to provide research opportunities for faculty, students, and practitioners focused on treatment of chronic wounds at the clinical, cellular, and biochemical levels.

“It has allowed us to move in new directions, and it will present other opportunities in the future,” adds Brogan. “We’ll be able to do much more, at a quicker pace. Daemen College is being looked at in a different light than in the past, because of its curriculum, its global vision, its research presence. We have a vision and a commitment to make that vision work.
“In taking a lead role in this effort, Daemen is collaborating with regional hospitals, HMOs, and other Western New York healthcare providers to accomplish this goal. Daemen has a lot of depth, bringing fields such as biomechanical engineering; biochemistry; microbiology; physics; and physical therapy to this project,” added Brogan.

The Western New York research team includes scientists and researchers from Daemen (Dr. Michael Brogan, Dr. Laura Edsberg, and Dr. Kristin Fries); SUNY at Buffalo (Dr. Joseph Gardella, Dr. Frank Bright, Dr. Alexander Cartwright, Dr. Robert Hard, and Dr. Bahattan Koc); and Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Dr. Wesley Hicks, M.D., F.A.C.S.). Also part of the research team are area physicians and surgeons Dr. Corstiaan Brass (M.D., Infectious Disease); Dr. Raymond O. Schultz (M.D., F.A.C.S.), and Dr. Paul C. Nasca (DPM).

Additionally, the project’s partners plan to provide advanced clinical education through the establishment of a Wound Care Academy – providing education for up to 120 physical therapy students in the region per year.

“The Academy will also host an annual wound care continuing education course and triennial wound care symposium,” said Brogan. “We want to meet the need for continuing education for physical therapists and other practitioners, improving the knowledge and level of clinical expertise of wound care in the Western New York region.”

To further that goal, the planned academy will seek to establish a New York State Registered Certificate in Wound Care for licensed health care professionals (M.D., P.T., RN, P.A., O.T.), in order to increase the number of wound care specialists in Western New York.

Location Note: The Daemen College Physical Therapy Wound Clinic is located at the Center for Skin Integrity, 2355 Union Road in Cheektowaga. The Clinic can be contacted at (716) 671-8073

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