Rehabilitation from burns injuries should start the moment the patient experiences burn trauma.
There are many different kinds of burn rehabilitation methods, but only a handful of them are evidence-based. Here are five of them.
1. Wound Healing
Wound healing is done at the earliest stage and aims to provide respiratory care, prevention of oedema, stiffness and contractures, pain control and prevention of deep vein thrombosis and pressure sores.
The patient’s chest and head area is usually raised as to allow them to breathe easier. Physiotherapy methods such as suctioning, coughing, postural drainage and vibrations may be employed to remove excess secretions.
The affected limb is elevated and done on the day the patient gets injured to stop the burn from deepening.
Splinting has proved itself to be highly effective against burn contractures and helps maintain optimal positioning, particularly for patients who are feeling immense pain, those who have been burned in a positionally difficult region and victims who are having compliance problems.
Splinting can hold the limb at a stretched position and make it easier to begin stretching and exercise. Furthermore, splints tend to remodel scar tissue and applies controlled forces to encourage tissue remodeling.
Examples of capable splints include cardboard, Plaster of Paris, foam polystyrene, PVC piping and rubber tubing, among others.
3. Stretching and Mobilization
Doctors encourage moving and stretching the affected joints several times daily with the help of a loved one or family member.
Therapists can opt to select either active range of motion or passive range of motion, depending on which is best for the patient.
Patients should be encouraged to take part in mobilization and stretching exercises, including getting out of bed, light exercise or a form of game that allows the patient to catch a ball or stretch his or her muscles.
Exercise has an added benefit of making the burn victim acquire self-confidence and a sense of achievement, as well as improve or restore muscle strength, balance, coordination and respiratory capacity.
4. Daily Activities
It’s not unusual for victims to lose their sense of role because they’re unable to participate in daily activities.
Family members and loved ones must get the patient involved in light activities such as washing themselves and eating as soon as possible. Independence must be fostered for wellbeing and control over the environment.
A few more examples that patients must do by themselves include grooming, feeding, toileting, bathing and vocational skills.
5. Scar Management
It’s common for patients to have hypertrophic scarring, which results in cosmetic and functional impairment. The longer the wound has to heal the greater the chance of developing hypertrophic scars.
Scar management is often a painful and long process, but with the help of good positioning, splinting, moisturizing and stretching it can be achieved. Afterwards, social rehabilitation should be done as part of the reintegration process.
A physical rehabilitation healthcare facility can help a burn patient get back on his or her feet in the soonest possible time. To learn more about burn rehabilitation occupational therapy visit everestrehab.com.