DCMH Selected for Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Study for Veterans

Greensburg, Indiana – The Wound Care unit at Decatur County Memorial Hospital has been selected to participate in a new study on the uses of hyperbaric oxygen treatment in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The HBOT Pilot Program will study the effect that hyperbaric chamber treatments can have on PTSD and traumatic brain injuries in veterans.

The VA seeks to improve the lives and health of veterans, and they have seen significant anecdotal evidence of the symptoms of PTSD decreasing and traumatic brain injuries improving during hyperbaric therapy. “We often have people report that they sleep better when they are getting treated for a wound,” said Supervisor of Wound Care Amy Clason, RN. “I’m not sure of the pathophysiology, but we’ve also seen people with dementia seem more lucid and converse a little better after being in the chambers.”

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments were first used to treat decompression sickness after deep-sea diving, but it was found that HBOT could also heal wounds as the body gathers more oxygen in a higher pressure environment, promoting blood flow and tissue growth. Today, hyperbaric chambers are most commonly used for patients with non-healing wounds, carbon monoxide poisoning, and more recently, COVID-19.

Although many hyperbaric patients, especially veterans, have noticed improvement with their PTSD and traumatic brain injuries, because it is not an official diagnosis, most hospitals cannot provide use of the chambers, even for those paying out of pocket. This study, with data analysis being completed by Purdue University, will help determine whether hyperbaric chambers can truly improve these conditions.

“It’s really exciting that these are two diagnoses that we haven’t been treating and to be a part of cutting-edge technology and research,” said Clason. “I have such a great staff and they get so excited when we have success with the chambers.”

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