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Because so many functions and systems of the body can be affected by severe burns, the need for rehabilitation becomes even more crucial.
Many hospitals have a specialized burn unit or center and some facilities are designated solely for the rehabilitation of burn patients. Burn patients need the highly specialized services of medical specialists who work together on a multidisciplinary team, including any of the following:
Infection disease specialists
Rehabilitation nurses who specialize in burn care
The burn rehabilitation program
Burn rehabilitation begins during the acute treatment phase and may last days to months to years, depending on the extent of the burn. Rehabilitation is designed to meet each patient's specific needs; therefore, each program is different. The goals of a burn rehabilitation program include helping the patient return to the highest level of function and independence possible, while improving the overall quality of life - physically, emotionally, and socially.
In order to help reach these goals, burn rehabilitation programs may include the following:
Complex wound care
Physical therapy for positioning, splinting, and exercise
Occupational therapy for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
Cosmetic reconstruction and skin grafting
Counseling to deal with common emotional responses during convalescence, such as depression, grieving, anxiety, guilt, and insomnia
Patient and family education and counseling
Advances in the understanding and treatment of burns, state-of-the-art burn units and facilities, comprehensive burn rehabilitation services, and integrated medical care have all contributed to the increase in survival rate and recovery of burn patients.