Product helps prevent injuries to bedridden

MINDEN - DARJA's products primarily are created for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers, formerly known as bedsores.

James McCord, who co-owns DARJA with biochemist wife Darlene, said the ulcers form when someone sits in a chair or lies in bed for an extended period, such as during hospitalization or nursing home confinement.

"People are more susceptible as they age because their skin thins and their circulation decreases," McCord said.

Friction between the skin and the sheet damages the skin, but the pressure of a patient's weight against the bed and reduced circulation blocks blood from bringing oxygen and nutrients to the skin so it can heal.

DARJA makes two kinds of products for care of the problem. A preventative line moisturizes and provides nutrients to prevent the breakdown of skin. The line of treatment products promotes healing through a gel that provides nutrients to an ulcerated area and maintains a moist, warm environment in which cells reproduce more quickly.

"Ulcerations tend to form on bony prominences such as ankles, elbows, shoulder blades and butts," McCord said.

Facilities for extended care use DARJA's preventative products in a protocol to head off the skin breakdown. The lubricant properties of the treatments reduce friction while ingredients like vitamin D and dexpanthenol nourish the skin directly when lightly rubbed in, he said.

For skin that has broken down, DARJA's treatments include an antimicrobial wound cleaner and several wound packing materials.

"The packs are all based on moist wound healing. Everyone used to think a wound was best left to scab over, but we now know that wounds heal quicker and do better in a warm, moist environment," McCord said.

"The gels we produce as packs keep the wounds moist so the 'daughter cells' divide rapidly and the wounds heal more rapidly."

He said the packs include a gel called a carbopol, usually combined with hyaluronic acid, which bonds moisture. The packs can also include nutrient ingredients.

The use of moist packs has made a difference in how such wounds are treated, he said. Instead of dry bandages that are changed two or more times a day, the moist gel is flowed into a wound and covered with a bandage. It is then left in place for up to 72 hours, he said.

"They've found that every time you lower the temperature by removing a bandage the healing slows down. But the gel keeps moisture and heat in and does not need to be disturbed as frequently."

When the packing is due to be changed, the gel is washed from the wound and replaced as needed.

DARJA's are not sold retail or under the company's name. Instead, they are packaged under private labels for companies such as 3M, DeRoyal and Hollister, McCord said.

"If you've been in an emergency room lately and looked at the wound treatment supplies on the shelves there, you've probably seen some of our stuff," McCord said.

The company has expanded its private label customers with the addition of the Dr. Jeff Weber line. The veterinary product line is being sold into the consumer market. The line is scheduled to launch in February.


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