Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH)- Wound Care Center

Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH)- Wound Care Center 28June

Wickenburg Community Hospital (WCH)- Wound Care Center

From non-healing skin tears, venous leg ulcers to non-healing traumatic injuries- patients at The WCH Wound Care Center receive individualized treatment for chronic wounds through the expert hands of our nurses, and talented General Surgeon, Dr. Robert Ripley, MD, FASC. Several factors help determine your wound treatment plan and the wound center has a variety of specialized dressings, ointments and applications that help to re-establish the body’s healing process. While not all treatments require surgery; if surgery is part of your treatment plan, the procedure will take place on site in our state-of the art operating theater. 

Wound Care Information:

Healing Process: Generally small wounds that extend through the skin and into the subcutaneous tissue or “thin wounds” such as abrasions will heal when kept clean and protected. Small wounds heal by the process of contraction and epithelialization. Skin does not want to be separated from skin and healing is the body’s natural response when a wound occurs. However, certain injuries, trauma, age and existing medical conditions such as diabetes, and poor circulation can lead to chronic wounds that will not heal properly with routine care.  

Chronic Wounds: Some wounds do not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time the way most wounds do. Wounds that do not heal within three months are often considered chronic. It is this this type of wound that is treated in the Wickenburg Community Hospital’s Wound Care Center.

Types of Wound Care:  Some chronic wounds have excessive drainage and need an agent that will absorb the drainage while treating a concurrent infection.  Other wounds may have a biofilm, caused by the bacteria that exist on our skin. A biofilm is formed when certain types of microorganisms adhere themselves to the wound surface. Chronic biofilm infections prevent the normal wound healing process of contraction and epithelialization and are persistent and hard to eradicate. Fortunately, there are specialized medications and minor surgery that can renew the healing process.

Sepsis and Aging: Infection in chronic wounds can lead to sepsis if left untreated. Sepsis is defined as an inflammatory body response to infection, with severe sepsis and septic shock being the more severe forms. Sepsis can and does affect people of all ages. However, a 2012 Medical Study shows that the incidence and prevalence of sepsis increases with age. While people aged 65 years and older make up about one fifth of the American population, they make up two thirds of sepsis cases in hospitals and are approximately 20% more likely to develop sepsis than their younger counterparts. For more information about Sepsis and aging click here.

Staphylococcal Infections: Staphylococcus (referred to as staph) is a group of bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Although there are 40 types, the most common one is staphylococcus aureus.

Staph generally causes no problems or illness. However, if the bacteria enters the body through a wound, cut or graze, or open skin (e.g. broken skin caused by eczema or bug bite), it may cause an infection.  Staph is one of the most common causes of skin infections and can cause serious wound infections including sepsis. 

Since the 1950s, some strains of staph have built up resistance to antibiotics. Staph aureus that is resistant to the antibiotic methicillin is called methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). People often refer to MRSA as ‘golden staph’ because the infected pus is yellow/gold in color.

Most staph infections are treated with antibiotics, and there are still some antibiotics that can successfully treat MRSA infections.

Signs and symptoms of staph infection: If you or your child has a staph infection of an existing or new wound, they may have:

  • swelling around the wound
  • a wound that fails to completely heal
  • a fever
  • redness and heat around the wound
  • yellow-coloured crusting (scabs) and weeping.

If you or your child has any of these symptoms, don’t wait, call your doctor

In Addition: 

  • If you or your child has eczema, an affected area of skin may become infected with staph.
  • Staph can cause other kinds of illnesses including bone infections, impetigo (school sores), stye, abscess, pneumonia and blood stream infections, to name just a few. 
  • Scalded skin syndrome is caused by staph and is usually seen in children under the age of two years. It can start with a lesion (sore) around the nose or mouth, which then quickly develops into a bright red area. When touched, the affected skin may peel off in sheets; antibiotic therapy is needed


Wound Care Tips: Some home remedies such as antibiotic ointments and hydrogen peroxide can interfere with the healing process and some bacterial infections like Staph are resistant to normal healing.  So, before you do anything more than keep your wound clean and covered, please consult with a physician. In addition; if it is suspected that you have a difficult wound to heal- don’t wait, make an appointment with your doctor. 


Questions About Wound Care?

Call Dr. Robert Ripley:  928-668-5506



Primary Care

Community Hospital Clinics are located in Wickenburg, Wittmann, and Congress. We sincerely follow our mission to provide quality health and wellness services where the patient, family, and community come first.

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Emergency Care

Our 8 bed Emergency Room department is fully staffed with emergency physicians, nurses, and ER specialists. Your wait time is typically measured in minutes not hours as in the larger metropolitan hospitals.

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Surgical Services

Wickenburg Community Hospital provides a wide variety of surgical care and treatment. We serve a vibrant and active community who favors quality health care close to home.

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