The Greater Regional Health Board of Trustees voted to approve the addition of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber during their regular board meeting June 22.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized room, tube or chamber. The treatment has been used commonly for decompression sickness, serious infections and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.
“We are very excited that we got approval from the board for the hyperbaric oxygen chamber,” said Kayla Hoffman, director of marketing and communications at GRH. “That’s going to help with the treatment options for those patients. It increases the amount of oxygen that’s in your blood. It brings in 100% oxygen into this chamber, it will then help fight infections and minimize the injuries that are there.”
GRH intends to use the chamber as part of their wound care service line.
“If people aren’t aware, we actually do have a wound care service line here at Greater Regional,” said Hoffman. “If you have wounds that aren’t healing up, like a diabetic ulcer or pressure sores, those are the reasons you would come to our wound care service line.It delivers that improved oxygen to those vital tissues that are trying to recover but have a hard time recovering.”
The usage of the chamber would be on a case-by-case basis, only being utilized in instances in which the benefit is certain.
“We would assess the wounds, and we have multiple ways of treating them right now,” said Hoffman. “That would be up to the nurse in wound care and our medical director of wound care to decide if those wounds would benefit from the chamber.”
The addition is very much in the early stages, as Hoffman said it will be at least a year before the project is off the ground. Currently, GRH has yet to decide on any specific chambers or process for the project.
“We haven’t quite figured out where the location is going to be,” said Hoffman. “We really want to build this wound care center around the hyperbaric oxygen chamber so we can have all that service line and those care and needs in that same area.”
After the addition is completed, GRH will be one of the only medical centers in the area with a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, with the closest one currently being in Ottumwa.
“Bringing it to southwest Iowa is a huge plus for our patients,” said Hoffman. “It’s a great piece of equipment that’s going to be a great addition to us.”