Wound Center Helps People Enjoy Life Again

On June 12, 2021, Shauna Jannotta walked down the aisle to marry John Polefko with ease thanks to the care she has been receiving at Monongahela Valley Hospital's Center for Wound Management for the past 20 years. When Shauna began receiving treatment at the Center, she was living with a wound on her toe that wouldn't heal. She also was coping with neuropathy, a disease of peripheral nerves that causes numbness and weakness, that resulted from chemotherapy treatments. It wasn't until she consulted with Dr. Richard Young, a podiatrist at the Center for Wound Management, that she began to have relief.

"I was in college at the time and I had weekly appointments with Dr. Young," she said. "The entire staff was very thorough, and they were determined to heal my wound. They gave me choices that no one else offered. Through the years, the staff has become like family to me," she added.

At the Center, Shauna's toe was debrided. When a wound occurs, the affected area can become overrun with dead tissue that can hinder the body's ability to recover and develop new skin. Removal of the dead skin, or debridement, may be necessary to promote healing. She also wore an orthopedic boot with special inserts to take pressure off of her toe. She continues to receive maintenance care with Dr. Young.

Shauna was among the first patients at MVH's Center for Wound Management. For the past 20 years, the Center has treated people with chronic, non-healing wounds by providing advanced wound technology and procedures. Skin grafting, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, dressing changes, follow-up for ostomy patients, compression/ lymphedema therapy and nutritional assessments are among the many types of care provided.

A chronic, non-healing wound is one that is present for longer than four to six weeks and is not showing signs of improvement. Common types of chronic wounds include diabetic foot injuries, venous ulcers between the ankle and knee due to poor circulation, pressure ulcers commonly known as bedsores, vascular ulcers, complex surgical wounds, traumatic injuries and burns.

"There are many factors that can make chronic wounds difficult to heal including circulation, diabetes, smoking, age, long-term effects of radiation or medication or general nutrition," explained Dr. Young. "Every wound is different and every person heals differently and that's why it is important to receive care for chronic wounds," he added.

When a person seeks care at the Center, they have a team of skilled physicians and certified wound care nurses who determine the underlying cause of the wound, create a personalized treatment plan and teach the patient how to properly care for their wound. The multidisciplinary team may also include a diabetic educator, occupational therapist and, if needed, a visiting nurse.

Some wounds require Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, which is an advanced treatment that employs oxygen at levels higher than atmospheric pressure to promote natural healing. Regardless of the type of wound treatment needed, a physician's prescription is not necessary unless a person's insurance requires a referral or preauthorization for treatment.

"As a dental hygienist, I am on my feet all day. I cannot imagine living with the pain I experienced before I went to the Center for Wound Management. I am very grateful for the care they gave to me," Shauna added.

Dr. Richard Young treating patient
At Monongahela Valley Hospital's Center for Wound Management, Shauna Jannotta receives treatment from Dr. Richard Young as Annette Necciai, certified wound ostomy nurse, looks on.