In 2009 alone, the United States spent an estimated $25 billion treating chronic wounds. By 2012, the average cost of treatment per wound was $3,900.
Since then, those numbers have steadily risen. Today, chronic wounds affect the lives of more than 6.5 million Americans, most taking the form of pressure ulcers brought about by complications due to obesity or diabetes. And while treatable, patients suffering from chronic wounds commonly experience pain, infection and even amputation.
But beyond pain and cost of care, a third facet of chronic wounds affects patient quality of life even more: wasted time.
“Besides the morbidity, the mortality, the cost and length of stay associated with a wound-related hospital visit, there’s also a societal cost,” said Dr. Jose Vazquez, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Augusta University. “Think of the time a patient suffering from a chronic wound will spend out of work. The time they’ll spend away from family. That’s what we’re trying to prevent.”
Operated by Drs. Johnathan Gore, assistant professor of emergency medicine, and Lester Young, assistant professor of surgery, the Augusta University Wound Care Clinic offers patients access to an experienced, multispecialty team of surgeons, internists, podiatrists and experts in infectious disease. That multifaceted approach, Vazquez said, is one of the clinic’s greatest strengths because it saves patients time in the long run.
“Patients may have to spend weeks in the hospital for untreated wounds,” he said. “They may have to be on IV antibiotics for 6-8 weeks, and if they have an amputation, they’re going to have to relearn to walk. We can prevent a lot of that by taking care of wounds aggressively.”
The Augusta University Wound Care Clinic is open every Thursday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Medical Office Building.
For more information about the Augusta University Wound Care Clinic, call 706-721-3671.