Avera St. Luke's implemented a specialty team made up of 2 therapists and a RN to care for people with chronic or complicated wounds. Nancy Naeve Brown went to Aberdeen after a patient wrote a letter describing in length how great the staff is and how the wound care team is her miracle workers.
Deb Elsen from Aberdeen has suffered with venous statis ulcers in her legs for 15 years. Those chronic open sores are a result from bad circulation in her legs.
Avera St. Luke's Occupational Therapist Janae Hughes says, "Her blood supply is not getting out of her legs. It's pooling in there and creating areas of weakness and then it becomes an ulcer."
Deb had gone to a number of doctors at a number of different places but didn't get results until she enlisted the help of the Certified Wound Care Team at Avera St. Luke's. Occupational Therapist Janae Hughes is part of a 3 member specialized team that includes Physical Therapist Amanda Van Hatten and Registered Nurse Carla Salzer. They get a ton of support from aide Jan Gale.
Deb says, "I praise these girls. They are just wonderful."
Janae says, "We think it's really important to do wound care with chronic patients who have lost dignity and independence out in the community because their wounds are inhibiting them from leaving their homes."
Deb says, "This is the best thing they could have brought into this building."
Janae says, "I see her 3 times a week because the amount of drainage she has. I use dressings to absorb it and another for compression so the blood flow can continue to push upward instead of pooling in her ankle and feet."
When Deb first started coming here she had ulcers on both legs. Her left leg is now 100 % healed after a surgeon removed the veins in her leg that weren't good.
Janae says, "We've made great gains since November when we got our hands on her full time."
Deb's goal is to not have to wear these bandages anymore thanks to Janae and the wound care team that day isn't that far off.
Deb says, "They've done a terrific job. You come in here and they treat you like queens. You could be crabby when you come in, but by the time you leave you are in a happy mood."
Most people don't say that about coming to the hospital but the Avera St. Luke's Wound Care Team isn't just therapists and nurses to Deb, they're like family. A family she credits for helping to heal her legs.