What are the sensations associated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is generally painless and without any discomfort. In fact, it is enjoyable and relaxing to the point where we might even have to wake you up at the end of a session.

At the beginning of the treatment, when the pressure is increased, as well as at the end when the pressure is decreased and brought to normal, you will feel a pressure change in your ears similar to that which you experience in an aircraft.

Prior to treatments we will teach you how to equalize the pressure changes in your ears. Fullness and popping in your ears upon change in pressure will probably feel similar to that experienced when flying or going over a mountain range. During the rest of the treatment you can read or snooze if you wish. Most treatments take about 2 hours altogether.

What are the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

Increased concentration of oxygen combined with increased pressure greatly increases the amount of oxygen dissolved in the blood and thereby the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy offers distinct therapeutic effects. It:

  • Increases oxygen delivery to injured tissues
  • Stops further tissue damage by reducing swelling
  • Promotes wound healing by;
  • Improving immune system response
  • Improving blood vessel formation
  • Preventing or reducing infection
  • Improves the effect of some antibiotics
Which conditions can be treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown to be a useful adjunctive therapy in the following conditions:

  • Non-healing and infected wounds – ulcers
  • Diabetic ulcers (prevention of amputation)
  • Venous and arterial insufficiency ulcers
  • Bone infections such as osteomyelitis
  • Radiation injury in patients treated for cancer
  • Necrosis of bone or soft tissue in patients previously treated for cancer
  • Anaerobic Bacterial infections (subcutaneous, muscle, fascia)
  • Burns (improved tissue salvage, fast recovery and minimal scarring)
  • Carbon monoxide, cyanide poisoning, smoke inhalation
  • Extreme loss of blood or anemia – when blood transfusion is not an option

In acute cases, such as air/gas embolism and decompression sickness, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the primary health care method.

Will my Private Health Insurance cover it?

Medicare covers the following 6 of the UHMS approved conditions for hyperbaric oxygen therapy:

  • Arterial gas embolism
  • Necrotizing soft tissue infection
  • Delayed radiation injury to soft tissue and bone
  • Selected problem wounds/Diabetic Wounds/Nonhealing Traumatic Wounds
  • Compromised Amputation Sites
  • Vascular Insufficiency Ulcers
  • Clostridial Myositis and Myonecrosis
  • Gas gangrene, anaerobic infections, or necrotizing infections

Various private medical insurers also provide cover for these conditions as well as, in the case of some insurers:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Crush injury and other acute traumatic ischaemias including strokes
  • Intracranial Abscess
  • Compromised Skin Grafts and Flaps
  • Refractory Osteomyelitis

Following your initial consultation the doctor will provide you with the definition of your condition so that you can check with your private medical insurer to find out if your condition is covered and if there are any excesses to pay.

What if I don’t have private health insurance?

While Medicare covers the doctor’s care for the above mentioned 6 UHMS approved conditions, Medicare does not cover the cost of private hospital care. For self insured patients please contact Administration staff on telephone number (07) 3371 6033 prior to your treatment for an estimate of fees and charges.

However in the event of unforeseen complications or variations from the proposed treatment, the fees payable may increase. Total payment (other than any ancillary charges) are payable prior to your treatment. We have some payment plans which can be tailored to your situation.

Depending on your condition we may be undertaking funded research in that area so fees maybe significantly reduced or waived entirely if you are a suitable candidate for the research project.

It seems complicated doesn’t it? We have been through this many times, so once you have had your initial consultation we will assist you with the payment process.

What is the referral and acceptance process for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

A careful evaluation is needed prior to commencement of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Patients are screened for any health problems or history of those, as well as medications they are presently taking. There are some conditions and medications that contra-indicate Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

The initial evaluation report is forwarded to your primary caregiver, typically your family doctor or specialist. Included with the report are our recommendations for a potential therapy schedule. A typical schedule includes a daily session of hyperbaric oxygen 5 days per week. More serious medical conditions may require more intensive therapy with 2 sessions per day.

Are there any side effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

There are very few side effects involved with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and these will be discussed in detail with you by the hyperbaric physician prior to commencing any treatments.

How many sessions will I need?

The number of sessions is individualised to each person. The hyperbaric health care team at Wesley Hyperbaric Centre will discuss a planned course of therapy with you after an initial evaluation. The exact number of sessions will depend on your response to hyperbaric oxygen tests and measurements of microcirculation.

Patients may be offered 10 – 40 daily hyperbaric treatments Monday to Friday on a routine basis.

How can I find out more information about the Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine?

For professional presentations please contact our facility at (07) 3371 6033 to arrange a talk by either our doctor or senior nursing staff.

Are DVA Clients Covered

Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine is a DVA approved hospital.

• Gold card-holders are covered for Medicare Approved Conditions.

• White card-holders are covered subject to approval by DVA.

I think I might be a workcover client (QLD)

Your Workcover Approval is required when you attend for your consultation. If this approval has not been obtained then private health fund approval or total payment must be made on or prior to your treatment.

What assistance with travel and accommodation is there for patients who live outside Brisbane?

The staff at The Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine assist many patients and their loved ones from rural areas to travel and stay in Brisbane while having treatment. We have done so for many years so we understand the stress and strain this can create.

A subsidy is provided by Queensland Health to approved patients and carers (escorts) who live more than 50km from Brisbane to assist in the cost of travel and accommodation to attend treatment at The Wesley Centre for Hyperbaric Medicine.

This subsidy is called the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS). The PTSS provides assistance to patients, and in some cases their carers, to enable them to access specialist medical services that are not available locally. On 1 January 2013 the mileage subsidy rate increased to 30 cents per kilometre and the accommodation subsidy rate to $60 per person per night when staying in commercial accommodation. The subsidy for private accommodation remains unchanged at $10 per person per night.

There are five motel and apartment facilities located within walking distance of the hospital.
There are self-contained apartments with cooking and laundry facilities, or motel rooms with breakfast and laundry services. If approved, the cost of accommodation is fully funded by the government and paid directly to the facility.

We can also explain financial assistance for travel.

Please contact reception staff on (07) 3371 6033 for further information & related forms or visit http://www.health.qld.gov.au/ptss/ or phone 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84). A medical practitioner must refer the patient to the specialist medical service.