A serious burn injury requires immediate and long term treatment
Serious burns, such as third-degree ones, affect deep layers of the skin as well as the fat layers. They can also cause damage to underlying nerves.
Severe burns are life threatening and require immediate medical attention. After initial treatment, burn victims go through months of intensive therapy and other treatment to manage the effects of the injury.
Assessment of burn severity
The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center discusses that during the initial assessment of the burn, the medical team determines the severity of the injury by inspecting the:
- Percentage of burned skin
- Depth of burn
- Age of the victim
- Type of burn
- Incidence of other injuries or health issues
The severity of the burn determines the types of treatment needed. Many burn victims receive care in a specific burn unit.
Types of treatment and rehabilitation
The initial treatment may consist of first aid, medications, breathing assistance, blood flow improvement, a feeding tube and possibly surgery. The goals include pain management, infection prevention and dead tissue removal.
Once there is stabilization of the burn victim, there are additional things the patient will need. Once released from the burn center, the patient enters an inpatient rehabilitation center. While there, patients undergo physical therapy to improve flexibility of affected joints, coordination and strength. A nutritionist may recommend a specific nutritional plan to help improve healing. Skin grafts or plastic surgery may also be necessary to replace the damaged skin.
After inpatient rehab, the patient may enter a skilled nursing facility to continue recovery treatments. Additional therapies may include occupational and speech-language pathology. Once released from the nursing facility, many patients still need outpatient services.
The Mayo Clinic discusses that patients often need mental and emotional support during recovery and rehabilitation. Joining a support group is helpful for some.