Burn injury rehabilitation is crucial to maximizing quality of life and independence after severe burns. It begins when a burn patient is admitted to the hospital or burn center and can last a lifetime. In the early stages, while the injuries are still acute, the goal of rehabilitation is to minimize lost range of motion. Effective rehabilitation can reduce the need for reconstructive surgery following severe burns. Typically, an entire team is involved in burn injury rehabilitation and can include a doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist and a social worker.
Burn Injury Rehabilitation Addresses the Whole Person
Burn injury rehabilitation includes physical therapy to preserve and restore range of motion, occupational therapy to help you get back to preforming the normal daily activities of life, and psychological care to help you overcome the psychological and emotional hurdles that severe burns can present. In the early stages, education is a large part of rehabilitation and includes the whole family.
Physical therapy focuses largely on maintaining and restoring range of motion. Burn scars can turn into contractures, as the skin tightens, causing pain and making it difficult to move. Physical therapy includes exercises to stretch the skin as it heals, and massage. Therapy while the skin is healing is much more effective than trying to stretch the scars once they have fully formed.
Occupational therapy teaches you how to perform daily activities again, so you can be as independent as possible. It can start with very basic stuff, like feeding yourself and combing your hair. Over time, it can include tasks to help you get back to work and earning a living.
Severe burns can have devastating psychological effects. Burn injury victims may suffer PTSD as a result of the initial event that caused the burns and the trauma of burn treatment. the disfigurement caused by severe burns can cause burn injury patients to withdraw from society, friends and family and cause severe depression and anxiety.
A burn injury can be painful and devastating. If you or someone you know has suffered a burn injury resulting from another party’s negligence, you may seek compensation for the damages caused by the accident by filing a personal injury claim. If the injury occurred on someone else’s property and resulted from the negligence of the property owner or manager, that person may be liable under a theory of premises liability.
When your skin comes into contact with an excessively hot substance or surface, you will be burned. Burns are grouped into three main categories.
1- First degree burns
These are relatively minor burns. The burns result in reddening of the skin. The victim may also experience some topical pain. Recovery from these burns is relatively easy with proper care. The human body is able to heal the burned area with little need for medical intervention. These cases rarely justify the expense or time involved with a lawsuit.
2- Second degree burns
These are more severe than first degree burns. The pain is much deeper since deeper tissues are affected by the burning. These burns result in the skin swelling, reddening and blistering. Some medical intervention may be required to help in recovery and healing from these burns.
3 – Third degree burns
These are the most severe types of burns. These burns affect deep tissues in the body. They completely destroy the skin and the nerves. Third degree burns may result in blackened or visibly charred skin. The burned areas may be white where the skin has been completely destroyed. Recovery from these burns requires medical intervention. Scars are likely to last a lifetime.
Common causes of burns
Burns can result from exposure to various situations including:
- Overexposure to the sun
- Hot liquids
- Corrosive chemicals
Proving negligence when it comes to burn injuries can be a complex process. However, the at-fault party can only be held liable if there is evidence of negligence. Examples of situations that show negligence include:
- The victim getting burned after coming into contact with a frayed wire
- A fire that was not properly contained
- Burns may result from chemical spills or radiation leaks
- Burns resulting from poor maintenance of a building of the fire suppression system
Who should be held liable?
When the accident occurred on another party’s property (including a landlord property), the owner of the property may be held liable for the damages resulting from the accident. The victim may seek compensation for damages under a premises liability claim. However, the victim must demonstrate that the injuries suffered were a direct result of the property owner’s negligence.
If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, please contact an experienced burn injury attorney today.
Every burn injury is serious. Some are life threatening, demanding all of your energy to recover. This may mean long periods of bed rest, medicine regimens, and treatments. It’s a big job that takes time on your part, and compassion from your loved ones. Likely, you will feel stressed by your injury and recovery. Your sleep habits, diet, energy levels and comfort levels will change during this time. You may experience side effects from treatments or medications. Your body may look or behave differently. Emotionally, you may feel a sense of loss, wishing your injury never happened and wanting the recovery process to be over as soon as possible.
The burn team who cared for you during your hospital stay works very hard to ensure your recovery, but when you get home, you will need to be patient with yourself. Dealing with frustration and worry is part of life after a burn injury. You can help to speed your recovery by following all medical instructions, as well as eating, drinking, and resting properly. Be aware that your nutritional needs will increase following your burn injury because your body is working harder to heal. This means you’ll need more calories, vitamins and minerals and protein. High-calorie, high-protein meals are recommended, along with protein supplements.
Getting Help from Loved Ones
Family members will be concerned and want to help, so ask them to create a plan for family visits and helping out with specific tasks, like cleaning, laundry and paying bills. Knowing what to expect from each day can help to ease your emotions. Family members may also feel a bit frightened about caring for you and your injuries. Your medical team will provide the information they need to get through the early stages of your recovery at home. If you are feeling especially anxious, ask about anxiety medications your doctor may be able to prescribe.
Controlling Your Pain
Another common issue for burn injury patients recovering at home is pain control. Pain serves several purposes – it tells the brain to protect the injured area, and it lets you know that you need to take care of yourself. Calming techniques, such as deep breathing, imagery and meditation are surprisingly effective in the treatment of pain and reduction of anxiety. The pain from a burn injury may stem from different sources, such as the injury itself, skin grafts, dressing changes, or physical therapy. A specific type of pain from burn injuries occurs from “stretch receptors” found around the burn. This feels like a pulling sensation as the burned area shrinks during healing. For severe pain, morphine and other strong medicines can help to control pain sensations. The overall goal is to feel more comfortable and, as your wounds heal, your comfortable periods should last longer using less medication.
Once again, follow all medical instructions given. Do not skip physical or occupational therapy, even on days when you feel sore or weak. Therapy is an important component of recovery, and avoiding therapy can lengthen recovery times as well as causing secondary issues with your joints or the grafts contracting – becoming too tight – which can affect your ability to move.