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Cattlemen beef up wound care in County

Dr. John French, Sylvia Kempers and Stephanie MacLaren and Dr. John Hancock, of the Prince Edward Family Health Team, present an appreciation plaque to the PEC Cattlemen's Association's Marilyn and Craig Carson in thanks for their support.

Dr. John French, Sylvia Kempers and Stephanie MacLaren and Dr. John Hancock, of the Prince Edward Family Health Team, present an appreciation plaque to the PEC Cattlemen’s Association’s Marilyn and Craig Carson in thanks for their support.

A healthy donation from the Prince Edward Cattlemen’s Association has beefed up wound care in the County.

John Hancock , a member of the association, learned about the Prince Edward Family Heath Team’s wound care services from RN Sylvia Kempers, who provides specialized wound care to patients with diabetes and vascular issues.

“I was unaware of this clinic and the services that were provided by Sylvia and her co worker,” said Hancock. “I was also intrigued to find out that as with many health care issues today, access for some patients to services such as these are limited by case load, equipment and facilities.”

The idea that efficiency of service will make it more available, was the catalyst for the Cattlemen to contribute the $13-14,000 necessary to provide a diagnostic Dopplex Ability monitor and a specialized hydraulic wound care chair.

The chair will make it easier for patients to be seated, to be properly positioned for an assessment, and to feel secure.  The diagnostic tool will reduce the time it takes for an assessment by 50 per cent; create less discomfort and provide increased accuracy.

Kempers notes the clinic has helped literally hundreds of people and for many, this has meant the difference between a life of pain and being confined to a chair or bed, to a life that includes mobility,  independence, and once again being able to fully participate in the community.

“Jane D” shares her story.

As a young woman in the 1970s, she was diagnosed with cancer which required the removal of lymph tissue.  Soon after, her leg began to swell.  It grew bigger and bigger to the point that by 1991, she could no longer go to work due to the pain and swelling.  Over the years, she has seen specialists and undergone various treatments including going to hospital three days per week to have a pump move fluid from her leg.

Nothing was successful.

She could no longer go for walks, do gardening or get in or out of vehicles without great difficulty.  She could not wear normal footwear and tried to hide her leg with long dresses.  She suffered pain, infections, and the embarrassment of being stared at when she could get out.  At times, she became so desperate that she asked to have her leg amputated.

Jane is now under the care of the foot and wound clinic at the PEFHT and since beginning her therapy, her leg has reduced in size by as much as five inches.  She is walking short distances again and has needed to take fewer medications. There is hope that eventually she will be able to use a normal compression garment that she can manage herself.  After so many years of suffering through her condition and trying different treatments, ‘Jane’ is thankful for the care she receives from the PEFHT wound clinic and for the help she has received from the community.  She is excited at the prospect of a fuller and more active life.

“George C” has Type 1 Diabetes.  Three years ago, he got a scratch on his calf which he didn’t give much thought to.  Unfortunately, the scratch wouldn’t heal and it turned into a situation where he had a number of wounds develop.  Tests showed he had a shocking level of less than 10 per cent circulation in his leg and had to undergo femoral artery bypass surgery.  While the surgery was successful, the wounds would not heal.

George talks about the fear and the pain he experienced as he underwent various interventions, specialist visits and medications to try to control infection and heal the wounds.

Eventually he came under the care of PEFHT Sandbanks Medical Centre wound care clinic and is happy to say that after many months of intensive wound care, he is again healthy and free of infection.  George is confident that without this care, he would be missing toes, feet or even his legs through amputation.

Kempers notes many members of the community risk developing or are currently suffering from the physical and emotional pain and trauma of persistent wounds that prevent them from participating fully in their lives.

“Every day there is the danger that it can develop into a need for hospitalization or amputation.  It may not be the kind of cause that normally captures the attention of the community, but thanks to the Prince Edward Cattlemen’s Association, more people will get the help they need.  Their generosity and vision has once again exemplified the  idea of community members building a stronger community.”

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