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The Burn Team (part I)

Taking care of a burned patient in a hospital requires a team effort. This team is called the burn team which is a group of people with different specialties who work together to help the patient and his/her family.
The members of the burn team with some variation from one hospital to another include:

  • The patient: you are the key member of the burn team, when you are admitted you may meet different members of the team. Each team member plays an important role in your recovery. As your condition improves, you will become more independent and will help set goals for your care. Make sure to ask the team about any concern that you have. Communication and understanding are very important.
  • Family: your family is an important member of the team. They should not hesitate to ask the team about any question or voice any concern they might have. Family plays an important role in providing the encouragement and emotional support that the patient needs. They will be taught how to deal with and handle situations they might face in the burn center or at home.
  • Burn surgeons and other specialty surgeons: a burn surgeon is a surgeon who is specialized and trained in burn care, wound care, skin grafting and plastic surgery. The burn surgeon who is monitoring wounds, healing, and signs of infection is the team leader who gets help from the other specialists and staff as needed. There are other specialty surgeons who may also be involved in the team such as plastic surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, ophthalmic surgeons, vascular surgeons and others.
  • Trauma intensive care doctors: these physicians are specially trained to care for the needs of critically ill adults. They work with the burn surgeons and other specialties.
  • Pediatric intensive care doctors: they are specially trained to care for the needs of critically ill pediatric patients. They work with the burn surgeon and other specialties.
  • Medical physicians: depending upon the injury, other physicians may be consulted to help the team with the care needed for the patient, these physicians may include: internists, ophthalmologists, nephrologists, cardiologists and other specialties.
  • Nurses: the nurse will be with you for the longest period of time each day; the nurse is skilled in burn care. Patient and family cooperation will help facilitate the nurse when caring for the patient. Nursing staff may include: registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, clinical nurse educators, nurse assistants and others. The staff is usually directed by a burn center nurse manager.
  • Physical therapists: they are involved in exercises to help improve joint movement, strengthen muscles and improve general function. Physical therapy is important to prevent contracture and restricted movement. The physical therapist will work with you on an exercise program. He/she may develop a home exercise program as well as follow up with the patient after discharge.
  • Occupational therapists: they are involved in evaluating and assessing the functional abilities and what equipment is required by the patient. They make splints to help prevent and/or reduce contractures, among other responsibilities are teaching the patient how to accomplish activities of daily living and to provide a program for splinting and exercises.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.