Holy Family Hospital

Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center, Haverhill

We Specialize in Healing Chronic Wounds

Merrimack Valley Wound Care If you're suffering from a non-healing wound, you're not alone. Every year, chronic wounds caused by diabetes, poor circulation or other conditions, keep millions of Americans just like you from doing things they love to do. Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center can help you get your life back. Our unique multidisciplinary team of dedicated doctors and nurses treat more of these wounds than anyone else. Many patients find wounds that have resisted healing after months and even years of traditional treatment, finally heal. It's all we do. In fact, for most patients, the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center program leaves them completely healed in just a few weeks.

At any given time, almost seven million Americans suffer from chronic, non-healing wounds. Some are associated with complications from diabetes and other related vascular disorders. Other types include pressure sores and traumatic wounds. The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley in Haverhill uses the most up-to-date approaches to wound healing and remains current in new scientific advances in wound care. The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center is a hospital-based outpatient service.

Merrimack Valley Hospital Wound CareWho Needs Wound Care

There are a variety of circumstances in which a person may need specialized wound care. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Wounds caused by circulatory problems (e.g. arterial ulcers)
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • Venous stasis ulcers (as a result of improper functioning of valves in the veins usually of the legs)
  • Pressure sores (bed sores)
  • Burns
  • Non-healing surgical wounds
  • Post-radiation wounds

When Should I Consider Using the Wound Care Center?

If you have a sore or wound that has not started to get significantly better in a month, or has not healed entirely in two months, you should ask your doctor about Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center. Please be aware though that a physician referral is not required. 

An Experienced Team

Patients referred to our Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center program benefit from a physician driven, comprehensive interdisciplinary approach. Integrating a team of wound care professionals increases the level of care, improves patients compliance and clinical outcomes.

Walter Kwass, MD

Meet Medical Director Walter Kwass, MD

As skin ulceration and non-healing wounds are common symptoms of both artery and vein disease, it often falls to the vascular surgeon in a community to manage these difficult problems as part of the overall care of vascular, diabetic, and elderly patients. Walter Kwass, MD, medical director of the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center for Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley, is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and the Vascular Board of The American Board of Surgery. He earned board certification in vascular surgery in 1987 and recertification in 1997 and in 2007. His interest in the management of difficult wounds began with his vascular surgical career as a fellow at the New England Medical Center in Boston. He helped develop a prototype wound clinic at The Hospital of St. Raphael in Connecticut in the early 1990’s under the direction of his vascular team.

Meet Our Team of Physicians 

Your First Visit

When you come in, our staff will evaluate your wound and general health. They'll also review your medical history. A blood test may be involved. You may also need special tests that give us information about blood flow and oxygen flow in the wound area.

Your Healing Program

When your test results are in, we'll put together a treatment program based on your special needs. This program will include regular visits to the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center to provide treatment, evaluate progress and make any changes that might be needed. You (or your caregiver) will be given detailed instructions in home care, dressing (bandage) changes and protecting the wound from further injury.

Merrimack Valley Hospital Wound CareThe Team Approach to Treatment

A variety of treatment options are available depending on type and severity of a wound. Treatment may include the following:

  • Infectious disease management
  • Physical therapy
  • Vascular evaluation
  • Laboratory evaluation
  • Nutritional management
  • Pain management
  • Diabetic education
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Radiology
  • Debridement (removal of non-viable tissue from a wound)
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

The hyperbaric chambers are a part of our Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center's healing tools. These non-invasive clear acrylic chambers provide 100 percent oxygen to promote the optimum healing opportunity. While breathing pure oxygen, the patient's blood plasma becomes saturated, carrying 20 to 30 times the normal amount of oxygen to the body's tissue. The ultimate result is the body's natural wound healing mechanisms (which are oxygen dependent) are able to function more efficiently. Continued use of HBOT increases the body's immune and healing response. Our certified hyperbaric technician will educate you with the knowledge to complete this therapy program with the best results. Each hyperbaric chamber has its own TV/VCR and CD player for patients to watch movies or listen to music during treatment. The completely transparent chambers allow patients to see and be seen by the hyperbaric technician.

Conditions That May Benefit from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

  • Diabetic wounds of the lower extremity (foot and ankle ulcers)
  • Wounds that have not healed in several weeks
  • Post-radiation tissue injury
  • Crush injuries
  • Wounds caused by poor circulation or trauma
  • Compromised grafts and flaps
  • Gangrene
  • Pressure ulcers

You're a Vital Part of the Program

Much of the success of your treatment depends on you. You must keep your appointments, follow directions carefully and watch your progress closely between visits. And any time you or your family members have questions, our staff is available. In fact, we encourage you to ask questions.

How We Work With Your Doctor

Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley's Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center works with your personal doctor, just like any other medical specialist. We'll discuss your treatment program with your doctor and keep him or her updated on your progress, unless instructed otherwise. Remember, you'll need to keep seeing your doctor for routine medical care.

Insurance Coverage

Most often Medicare and Medicaid reimburse for approved procedures. Many health plans cover wound care treatment. We will call to obtain insurance coverage before we begin treatment as coverage depends on a patient's specific plan. Patients are asked to bring their insurance cards with you when visiting the center.

For More information

If you or anyone you know is suffering from a non-healing, chronic wound, please call the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley. We are happy to answer any of your questions and set up a tour of our state-of-the-art facility located on the third floor of the hospital. 

The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center  
Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley
140 Lincoln Ave.
Haverhill, MA 01830 

The Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center  
Holy Family Hospital at Merrimack Valley
140 Lincoln Ave.
Haverhill, MA 01830 

Revolutionary Care for Wounds in Haverhill

Wound care specialists are using CelluTome™, a new epidermal skin harvesting technology that allows patients to grow their own skin to heal a wound. This technology can eliminate the need for traditional skin grafting, which is an invasive procedure performed in an operating room. Watch this video about CelluTome™ and read a recent article about this treatment option.

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