London and the South East Burns Network Therapy Group

The London and South East Burns Network Therapy Group includes Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Dieticians and other Physical Therapists working in the designated Burns Services across the region. The group is currently led by Lead Therapist Rachel Wiltshire.  The aim of the group is to contribute to the continuing improvement of specialist burns services. This is achieved by close working between experienced specialists from each burn service provider within the London and South East Burns Network. 

The group works alongside the Nursing and Psychotherapies Groups, working towards goals agreed by the network operational delivery board.  The work plan for the Therapy Group includes professional, organisational and clinical projects. The Lead Therapist represents the Therapy Group at network and national level.

The Therapy Group meets four times a year, hosted by one of the burns services, to deliver network projects, undertake research and audit, provide specialist training, staff development and peer support to all physical therapy professionals within the burns network.

Recent projects completed by the group include writing agreed Competency Packages for Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists working in Burns (specific to each banding), Competency Pack for On Call Physiotherapy for Adults with Burn Injuries and Competency Pack for On Call Physiotherapy for Children with Burn Injuries.  

The Role of Therapy in Burn Care

A burn injury may affect both the physical and psychosocial wellbeing of the individual affected and people close to that individual. Therapists have a unique role to play in the care and management of burn injured people.

Physical, functional, psychological and aesthetics rehabilitation must be commenced immediately post burn in order to achieve optimal outcome. The ultimate goal of burn rehabilitation is to assist the individual in their return to pre injury status. The nature of some burn injuries may make this impossible and in such cases, the focus is on returning the individual to as near their pre-morbid status as possible. For some individuals, in particular those who have sustained major burns or who have complex additional needs, the entire rehabilitation process may last for many years.

It is essential that burn rehabilitation is multi-disciplinary, co-ordinated, individualised and holistic. The affected individual will require the services of a team of highly specialised, dedicated healthcare professionals.  Burns Care is a specialised service.

Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

The Physiotherapist and Occupational Therapist will often work closely together with some overlapping of their roles. The Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist may be referred to as the Burns Therapist.

The Burn Therapist plays a vital role throughout the recovery from Burn Injury and the emphasis will change throughout the rehabilitation process. Therapists working in Burns Services will have specific training and experience in the care of people with burns and so are able to provide the best possible care.

Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists work in all burns settings from critical care, rehabilitation, outpatients and in the community providing outreach services.

The therapist will carry out detailed assessments and provide a range of treatments tailored to the needs of the patient. Treatments may include-

  • Respiratory Physiotherapy treatments
  • Positioning and Splinting
  • Early rehabilitation, strength training and mobility
  • Stretching and movement exercises
  • Scar management
  • Functional retraining and adaptations.

The therapist plays an important role in providing information to the patient and carers about the recovery process and expected outcomes.

Therapy Standards

All therapists working in Burns work to the National Burn Care Standards and also there is a published document on Occupational and Physiotherapy specific standards available via the link below:

Standards of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy in the Management of Burn Injured Adults and Children

 The following documents are available on request;

- Working with Burn Injured Children

-Burns Therapy Competencies Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Band 5,6 and 7.

- Physiotherapy for Burn Injured Adults On Call Pack

- Physiotherapy for Burn Injured Children On Call Pack

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