Wound care center in Idaho Falls, Idaho

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At the Burn, Trauma and Wound Clinic at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC), you’ll find highly trained wound care specialists fully equipped to help you on your journey back to health. While located in Idaho Falls, our clinic services the entire southeast Idaho region, as well as western Wyoming and southern Montana.

Here, we offer a specialized team of physicians, registered nurses, occupational therapists and physical therapists trained in numerous cutting-edge treatments, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy and negative pressure wound therapy.

Our clinic is open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and we accept walk-ins from 8:00am to noon.

For an appointment, please obtain a referral from your healthcare provider and call (208) 529-7986.

Wound care treatments

We believe patient education is key to healing wounds. Our wound care center offers comprehensive services and education, leaving no doubt about which doctor to consult for wounds.

While a patient at our clinic, we use the latest, research-proven wound care therapies, including moisture-retentive dressings and human growth factor topical gels. We also employ silver-based dressings that help manage contamination in chronic and acute wounds more effectively while also treating infection and stopping the systemic spread.

Our commitment to patient-centered care allows us to treat a range of different types of wounds, including:

  • Burns
  • Leg and foot ulcers
  • Pressure injuries, or pressure ulcers, pressure sores and bedsores
  • Surgical wounds
  • Traumatic injury wounds

But wound care treatments are not one-size-fits-all solutions, which is why our range of treatment options is so diverse. In addition to hyperbaric medicine, available treatments at EIRMC include:

Bioengineered tissues

Bioengineered tissues are artificial dressings used to help close wounds that are slow to heal. Bioengineered tissues are typically used as a substitute for skin grafting. They are especially beneficial if a burn is so severe that a patient does not have sufficient skin for grafting. No matter the purpose, bioengineered tissues act as a stable surface that your body's cells can join with to help wounds heal quickly. They are also helpful in the treatment of pressure ulcers and surgical wounds.

Burn care

Burns can enact severe complications if not treated properly. Whether you have sustained a chemical, electrical, friction/road rash, inhalation or thermal burn, it is critically important to treat it with the best possible therapies. Whether the burn is more recent or is an older burn with scar tissue, proper burn care can help salvage and rejuvenate healthy tissues.

Compression therapy

Compression therapy uses gentle, steady pressure to move extra fluid out of arms, hands, legs or feet, and back into vessels. This therapy takes the tired, painful feeling out of swollen tissues and brings them back to normal. In compression therapy, we use special stockings, fabrics and bandages to squeeze gently, or compress, the affected arm, hand, leg or foot.

Regular use of this compression clothing will help keep vessels and tissues healthy. Additionally, depending on your condition, your doctor or podiatrist may recommend special shoes or custom inserts designed to keep wounds from getting worse.

Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT)

NPWT applies sub-atmospheric pressure to accelerate the healing process and protect acute and chronic wounds. NPWT's use of a wound VAC, a device that decreases air pressure on the wound, helps heal burns, infections, exposed bones and injuries affecting circulation and artificial implants.

Pressure mapping

Pressure injuries develop when pressure causes the skin to cut off from its blood supply, killing soft tissues. This typically occurs in patients with a sedentary condition that causes them to lay or sit for an extended period without moving, including bed-ridden, being in a wheelchair, being ill or experiencing neuropathy.

These injuries are most common where bones are near the skin surface, such as the hips, back, buttocks, shoulders, heels, ankles, knees, elbows, ears, and the back of the head. In these areas, the skin is thinner and less able to handle constant pressure.

What to expect at your visit

During one-on-one patient meetings, we address various subjects, including diabetes control, nutrition, infection, medication awareness and other issues related to wound healing. We also note smoking cessation, as just one cigarette or smoking device can decrease blood vessel size and reduce energy, slowing the healing process.

When coming in for treatment at our clinic, plan to arrive 15 minutes early for registration at the patient check-in desk in the front lobby. After check-in, you will come back to the clinic and complete a health questionnaire.

Your first visit will take about 90 minutes, and you should expect the following:

  • Pictures and measurements of your are taken wounds for documentation.
  • Meeting your patient care coordinator, who will review their role, as well as the policies and responsibilities of our wound care team, during your treatment.
  • Labs and swabs of injured tissue or other necessary tests. If any of these tests should require a separate appointment, your patient care coordinator assists in scheduling these appointments for you.
  • Wound care visit notes and orders are sent to any involved parties, including skilled nursing, home health, and/or your primary care doctor.

Taking care of your wounds at home

Home health can be a wonderful thing for our patients who need routine wound care. However, even if your home health nurse is trained in wound care, they are not allowed, by law, to provide wound care without a doctor’s order. Our clinic works with your home health agency to provide those orders so that your nurse can take care of your wound at home between visits.

Hyperbaric medicine

Wound care specialists at EIRMC also employ the use of hyperbaric medicine to treat a variety of wounds. What is hyperbaric medicine? Hyperbaric medicine involves therapies and treatments designed to raise oxygen levels in the bloodstream to effectively treat wounds when our bodies can't do it alone.

There are many benefits to high oxygen levels, including:

  • Boosting chemicals that reduce swelling
  • Helping damaged cells heal faster
  • Killing certain bacteria
  • Sparking the growth of new bone cells

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)

Hyperbaric medicine involves the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a state-of-the-art treatment that boosts the amount of oxygen carried in the blood to heal injured tissue.

Since bodily tissues need oxygen to function correctly, increasing oxygen levels at high pressure can improve tissue function and help the body fight further infection.

The central component of hyperbaric medicine and HBOT is the use of a hyperbaric chamber — a healing mechanism completely sealed off to outside air.

How does a hyperbaric chamber work?

When patients use a hyperbaric chamber, they inhale 100 percent oxygen that is pressurized to greater than sea level pressure. The ambient pressure inside the chamber is three times higher than our normal air pressure.

Once a patient has entered the chamber, and it is air-tight, the air pressure slowly rises, allowing your lungs to take in more oxygen than usual. Once this happens, your body uses the extra oxygen is to heal tissue and fight infections.

Therapy in a hyperbaric chamber is a low-stress experience, and patients can go home immediately after. While in the chamber, patients can sleep, listen to music, or watch movies while being closely monitored by a team of highly trained experts. Ask your healthcare provider if therapy through a hyperbaric chamber could be helpful for your condition.

Candidates for hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Before participating in HBOT, patients must undergo testing to ensure that their body's tissues would be receptive to this type of treatment. EIRMC offers this primary form of testing: a transcutaneous oxygen measurement (TCOM).

Transcutaneous oxygen measurement

A TCOM is a painless test that checks the oxygen levels of tissue under the skin. Lasting only 45 minutes, patients lay in a bed and have eight different buttons attached to a wire placed on the skin around the injured area. Patients are then asked to breathe normally, followed by breathing with a mask covering the nose and mouth. If the doctor notices an increase in oxygen, HBOT could help heal the injured area.

Lower numbers from the TCOM indicate that an injury is likely related to poor nutrition, smoking, high blood sugar or a difficult blood flow issue.

Conditions we treat using hyperbaric medicine

No matter the condition, it is crucial to start evaluation and treatment as soon as possible to avoid long-term problems. EIRMC is proud to offer hyperbaric medicine to our patients, as it has proven an ideal treatment for the following conditions:

  • Actinomycosis — When bacteria are found in the nose and throat, they can cause this chronic infection that typically affects the face and neck.
  • Acute carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning — CO poisoning happens when deadly fumes are inhaled in a place without enough healthy air.
  • Acute traumatic peripheral ischemia — This occurs when a severe injury causes an inadequate supply of blood to organs, limbs and body tissues.
  • Air/gas embolism — When an air bubble enters a vein, it is known as a venous air embolism, while an arterial air embolism is when an air bubble enters an artery. These are also known as gas embolisms.
  • Blood clots — These occur when blood clumps together into a gel-like state in your vessels or arteries, blocking oxygen flow.
  • Bone infections — Bones can become infected when organisms get into the bloodstream through a wound or an injury.
  • Compromised grafts and flaps — Sometimes, skin grafts or flaps can lose oxygen, causing a need for an influx of small blood vessel growth to feed the skin.
  • Decompression sickness — This is also known as "the bends." When a scuba diver comes up too quickly, nitrogen bubbles can form in the bloodstream. These can result in anything from tissue and nerve damage to paralysis or death if the bubbles get into the brain.
  • Diabetic foot ulcers — These ulcers form on the feet of diabetics as a result of broken-down skin tissue, which exposes the underlayers of skin.
  • Flesh-eating bacteria — While rare, this rapidly spreading infection of the skin and undersurface tissues occurs due to burns, puncture wounds or surgical wounds.
  • Gas gangrene — When bacteria gather in a wound with no blood supply, it can produce toxins that release gas and cause tissue death, otherwise known as gangrene.
  • Osteoradionecrosis — This is otherwise known as a complication from radiation therapy that causes jaw bone damage. This damage decreases oxygen and essential nutrients to this area, which can lead to bone death.
  • Soft tissue radionecrosis — Typically, this refers to the breakdown of body tissue at the original infection site after radiation treatment.
  • Traumatic injuries — Types of injuries that are categorized as traumatic include crush injuries, severed body parts and compression syndrome, or muscle pressure from internal bleeding or swelling.