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Published: Monday, 5/5/2008

St. Luke's opens $1.5M care center for diabetics in Maumee

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Mario Caruso, technical director of hyperbaric medicine for Comprehensive Healthcare Solutions Inc., checks out a hyperbaric chamber at the new Diabetes Care Center at St. Luke's. Mr. Caruso is serving as a consultant for the facility where patients with adult-onset diabetes can receive education and treatment. Mario Caruso, technical director of hyperbaric medicine for Comprehensive Healthcare Solutions Inc., checks out a hyperbaric chamber at the new Diabetes Care Center at St. Luke's. Mr. Caruso is serving as a consultant for the facility where patients with adult-onset diabetes can receive education and treatment.
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St. Luke's Hospital today is opening its $1.5 million Diabetes Care Center, where patients with adult-onset diabetes can receive education about how to control and get treatment for the chronic disease.

The Wound Healing Institute within the 5871 Monclova Rd. center on the Maumee hospital's campus also will treat patients with non-healing wounds from diabetes, as well as from vascular problems, chronic infections, and old traumas. The institute includes a hyperbaric pressure chamber, where patients weighing up to 700 pounds can be accommodated.

Patients in the hyperbaric pressure chamber breathe 100 percent oxygen at a pressure greater than sea level to promote circulation so wounds can be treated from the inside, not through the skin. Typically, patients are treated at a level equivalent to being under 33 feet of sea water for 90 minutes, and the state-of-the-art chamber is computerized so the 10-minute adjustment to that state is smooth, said Mario Caruso, technical director of hyperbaric medicine for Comprehensive Healthcare, a consultant to St. Luke's.

Mary Cheney, manager of the Diabetes Care Center at St. Luke's, says patients will be shown proper food portion sizes, healthy cooking methods, and how to read nutritional labeling on food packaging. The educational sessions will be held in the Maumee center's fully stocked classroom kitchen.
Mary Cheney, manager of the Diabetes Care Center at St. Luke's, says patients will be shown proper food portion sizes, healthy cooking methods, and how to read nutritional labeling on food packaging. The educational sessions will be held in the Maumee center's fully stocked classroom kitchen.
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"It allows us to do a very, very precise curvilinear descent," Mr. Caruso said.

With the center's opening today, St. Luke's is centralizing its diabetes education and care services, including educational classes on nutrition, and adding wound care. The center will treat patients with adult-onset diabetes, also called Type II diabetes, although it will house the Diabetes Youth Services agency.

The Diabetes Care Center is holding a grand opening from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday. Nurses and dietitians who are trained in diabetes education will be available during tours of the 5,300-square-foot facility.

Nationwide, an estimated 7 percent of Americans has diabetes, marked by high levels of blood glucose. In Lucas County, however, 12 percent of adults have been diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Lucas County Adult Health Assessment 2007 report.

At the St. Luke's center, anyone can access educational information about diabetes through a computer in the lobby or printed materials.

The center will treat adult-onset diabetes and will house the Diabetes Youth Services agency.
The center will treat adult-onset diabetes and will house the Diabetes Youth Services agency.
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New patients, meanwhile, spend an hour or two with a dietitian and diabetes educator in a personal session. They then get four group sessions, which are held in a fully stocked kitchen where correct portion sizes, healthy cooking methods, and other tips will be taught, said Mary Cheney, the center's manager.

"We spend a lot of time on food labels," Ms. Cheney said.

Eventually, center leaders would like to hold community cooking classes, with a dietitian on hand to explain healthy preparation alternatives, Ms. Cheney said. A couple of local chefs have expressed interest in helping, she said.

The center also has four wound-treatment rooms, including one that focuses on treating problems from the knee down. Since slow-healing foot wounds are common among diabetics, who have decreased circulation and may not realize they have been injured, one personal care aspect patients are taught is checking their feet daily with a mirror, Ms. Cheney said.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.


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