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Auckland Regional Burn Service/ National Burn Service

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Inpatient Treatments - Pain Control, Wound Care and Therapy

Three main factors necessitate inpatient care for a burn injury:

1. Pain control

Burns are painful, especially initially. Sometimes the hospital is the only place that is safe enough to give the required strong pain relief. With time, as analgesia requirements lessen, patients can be discharged home with medication, if still required.

2. Wound care

Some burns may heal spontaneously, others require surgery. All wounds require wound care. Burn wound care in the initial phases may be very intense and require significant amounts of analgesia to be done comfortably. Furthermore, in the initial stages, expert nurses are involved in caring for the wound to ensure as much heals as possible.  Children with burn injury may also require assistance from the Hospital Play Specialist who will offer support to the child and caregiver to assist them in coping with wound care procedures. 

Once wound care can be managed in the community, contact is made with either district nurses, visiting paediatric burn nurses or appointments are made to return to hospital for dressing changes.

Occasionally burn wounds require surgery to heal. In general, if a wound takes longer than three weeks to heal, the scar that forms from prolonged healing is worse than that of a skin graft. Sometimes it is obvious from the beginning that a wound will not heal and rather than wait, surgery will be offered initially. At other times, it may take longer before a definitive decision about surgery can be made.

3. Therapy

Some burns will require on-going physiotherapy and occupational therapy for the best possible scar / healing (see below) and to ensure the best possible functional outcome. Special exercises, splints and garments may be used to achieve these goals.

This page was last updated at 3:12PM on May 26, 2020.