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IU Health center offers full-time dietician for wound care in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — IU Health is setting the standard when it comes to wound care.

IU Health Methodist Hospital is one of only five in the country to employ a full-time dietician in its wound care center and, for patients with tricky infections, it’s making all the difference.

This past winter, Andrea Haydon found out she had cellulitis, a potentially life-threatening skin infection, on her shoulder. It would not heal.

“I was absolutely freaking out. Within an hour of the swelling, I immediately went into a med check to get it checked out,” Haydon said. “I ended up developing necrosis and that’s when I was freaking out trying to go to the doctor.”

Her doctor sent her to the IU Health Wound Care Center. The team there said nutrition deficiencies were responsible for the problem.

“I think it’s just one of those things where you can still be a healthy 34-year-old and you can still take your vitamins but it may not be enough,” Haydon said. “And again it depends on your diet too as well. I am very prone to be a grazer than eating full meals.”

The team at the IU Health Wound Care Center found she was lacking protein and vitamin C.

Nancy Strange is an IU Health senior clinical dietician. She works full-time in the wound care center.

“We could clearly see how the nutrition care plan came forward and I would say her wound healing took on a much more rapid pace once we implemented that,” Stange said.

Strange said that without proper nutrients the body can not heal a wound like the one Haydon had.

‘Whole foods. Really rich-colored foods, when you’re looking at your plate you want to see a lot of color,” Stange said. “And it can be animal protein. It can be plant protein but protein is essential for the immune system.”

Specialized physical therapists also worked with Haydon during the healing process.

Matt Hygema is a physical therapist and certified wound specialist in the center.

“We’re trying to get it clean,” Hygema said. “We’re trying to get it disinfected, get the swelling under control around it just set conditions, set the environment so it can heal properly.”

Haydon said she learned a lot including necessary nutrition skills that she implements into her life.

“The team is so good at their skill sets but even seeing patients as the whole person,” Stange said. “It’s not just about the wound. They really care.”

After six weeks in the wound care center, Haydon was finally able to return to her work as an artist in central Indiana.

Haydon said she is very thankful for the entire team at the wound care center because she says they cared for her entire wellbeing not just the wound on her shoulder, all while helping to put her mind at ease through her time there.