Wound care treatment improving for inmates

DOVER — The Delaware Department of Correction said today that innovative wound care being provided by its correctional health care provider is showing promising results in improving treatment for inmates.

Inmates have a wide variety of routine and recurring health care needs, and newly arriving inmates may have open and infected wounds from a variety of conditions, including injection drug use, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity and physical trauma, according to a DOC news release. Skin irritation from opiate withdrawal and other causes, such as parasitic infestations, can also prompt prolonged scratching that exacerbates open wounds, the DOC said.

Through an “innovative” wound care service brought to Delaware by Centurion Health, the state’s correctional health care provider, inmates are receiving enhanced treatment and are recovering faster from skin wounds compared to traditional courses of treatment, according to the DOC.

“DOC has made a concerted effort over the past year to improve the quality of medical care inmates in our custody receive, and Centurion’s specialized wound care treatment is just one more example of our renewed focus on strengthening prison-based health care services,” said DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis.

“With the national expertise Centurion brings to the Delaware DOC, inmates are recovering more quickly and need fewer visits to outside emergency rooms and hospitalizations, which reduces the strain on our health care system. We will continue to expand upon these innovative ideas to provide the highest quality and cost-effective care to offenders.”

Every offender in DOC custody receives medical screenings that identify treatment needs. Inmates with chronic and recurring conditions receive ongoing-care planning and follow-up treatment, according to the news release.

Previously, according to the DOC, inmates with open wounds and wound-related skin infections received standard wound care treatments. DOC’s medical provider Centurion Health, which was awarded the contract to provide health care to Delaware inmates this spring, focused early on improving inmate access to high-quality and specialized wound care services.

As the nation’s largest provider of correctional health care, Centurion had employed the national wound care service MyWoundDoctor in other states. It began leveraging MyWoundDoctor services in Delaware four months ago and has experienced noticeable results improving patient outcomes, the DOC said.

Through this treatment service, prison-based medical staff employed by Centurion provide patient information, case notes and photographs electronically to MyWoundDoctor, whose wound care specialists design an individualized treatment plan using a variety of evidence-based approaches, the DOC said.

Treatment materials and a wound care package that takes into account the patient’s underlying chronic health conditions, present condition of the wound and location of the wound are prepared individually for each patient and delivered by express mail. Prison medical staff administer the specially designed course of treatment and closely monitor the patient’s condition. Regular updates are transmitted electronically to MyWoundDoctor specialists, who adjust the treatment protocol as needed, the DOC said.

“Centurion is committed to leveraging proven best practices from our national network of caregivers and health care partners to provide excellent care to our Delaware patients and support their well-being,” said Dr. Johnny Wu, Centurion’s chief of clinical operations.