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Celebrating a Decade of Specialty Care, Hoag Seeks to Change National Conversation About Wound Care

Categories: Press Room

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., February 9, 2021 --- Nationally recognized wound care experts at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian are moving to educate physicians, nursing home leaders, and others to better recognize the risk of skin failures in chronically ill and elderly patients, with the hope of better treating and even preventing life-threatening wounds.

The effort coincides with the 10th anniversary of the renowned specialty center and is recognized by a $1 million gift made by noted philanthropist Sue Gross in honor of her sister and brother-in-law, Sally and Joseph Warpinski. Research out of the newly named Sally & Joseph Warpinski Wound Healing & Hyberbaric Medicine Center was published recently in the scientific journal, Wounds.

Nearly 60,000 people die of complications of skin pressure injuries each year. Understanding the underlying factors that cause skin failure is critical to keeping patients healthy.

“For patients, bedsores and other wounds often accompany other health complications. When healthcare providers better understand why skin breaks down, they can greatly improve the quality of care for their patients,” said Michael Bain, M.D., a Board-Certified Plastic surgeon with expertise in wound care. Dr. Bain is both the Medical Director of the Center, and the Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at Hoag Hospital.

Dr. Bain said he hopes the publication of the article will help move the medical community’s mindset from assuming that all bedsores are preventable to understanding that certain underlying conditions – such as diabetes and vascular problems – require physicians to incorporate wound care in their chronically ill patients’ treatment plans.

“The need for this shift in understanding can’t be overstated. Of the more than 5 million patients treated annually in intensive care units in the United States, 12% to 42% will suffer from skin breakdown. This led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to set a goal in 2014 to reduce this number by 20%. Instead, that number rose by 10%,” Dr. Bain said. “Whether this increase is due to higher awareness or a combination of increased awareness and/or misidentification of the primary cause of injury is still not clear.”

What is clear, Dr. Bain said, is the need for physicians in the community to better understand how to anticipate, diagnose, and treat those wounds that might not be preventable in the case of seriously ill patients.

“For many nursing care facilities, wounds such as bedsores often lead to lawsuits. That is because the assumption is made that the patient was neglected or mistreated,” he said. “While that might be true in some cases of bedsores, it’s not true in all of them. And better training and informed decision making can help prevent these types of wounds from becoming life-threatening or debilitating.”

Hoag’s center has developed a national reputation for excellence since it opened in Newport Beach and Irvine and was recently honored with the Healogics™ Center of Distinction Award for achieving outstanding patient outcomes for 12 consecutive months.

With a healing rate of 98%, Hoag ranks among the top 25% of more than 500 Healogics wound care centers in the nation and has patient satisfaction scores higher than 92%.​

Hoag’s median days to heal are 11 days faster than the national average, and the experienced team at Hoag is unique in how many specialties are included, including plastic surgeons like Dr. Bain who are experts in wound care.

“Patients come to us from skilled rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and from hospitals all over the county, to get the care that they couldn’t find anywhere else,” he said. “In fact, our center was recently renamed in recognition of a gift by Sue Gross in honor of her brother-in-law, Joseph Warpinski, who suffered a skin infection so dire, doctors in his home state of Wisconsin said he only had a few days to live.”

The Warpinskis flew to Orange County, where Joseph received lifesaving treatment at Hoag.

“Sally and I went through quite an ordeal that went from bad to worse until we got to Hoag and the incredible doctors, nurses, and staff at Hoag turned it around for me,” Joseph Warpinski said. “We don’t think wound care receives enough recognition it should deserve as most of us don’t realize just how dire your situation can become.”

“The conversation about wound care also has to change on a national level to give policy makers and the healthcare industry a common language to evaluate, diagnose, and treat wounds,” Dr. Bain said. “Medicare and insurance companies, for example, view wounds with one lens: as an injury. As we better understand the etiology of wounds, we can greatly improve the overall quality of care across the country and shift to a more patient-centric approach by recognizing, treating, and preventing skin breakdown.”

For more information about the center, https://www.hoag.org/specialties-services/other-programs-services/wound-healing-hyperbaric-medicine/

ABOUT HOAG

Hoag is a nonprofit, regional health care delivery network in Orange County, California, that treats more than 30,000 inpatients and 480,000 outpatients annually. Hoag consists of two acute-care hospitals – Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, which opened in 1952, and Hoag Hospital Irvine, which opened in 2010 – in addition to nine health centers and 13 urgent care centers. Hoag has invested $261 million in programs and services to support the underserved community within the past five years, including areas like mental health, homelessness, transportation for seniors, education, and support for single mothers. Hoag is a designated Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Hoag offers a comprehensive blend of health care services that includes five institutes providing specialized services in the following areas: cancer, heart and vascular, neurosciences, women’s health, and orthopedics through Hoag’s affiliate, Hoag Orthopedic Institute, which consists of an orthopedic hospital and two ambulatory surgical centers. In the 2020 - 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Rankings, Hoag is the highest ranked hospital in Orange County and the only OC hospital ranked in the Top 10 in California. For an unprecedented 23 years, residents of Orange County have chosen Hoag as one of the county’s best hospitals in a local newspaper survey. Visit www.hoag.org for more information.

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To download the official press release, please click here.