The Partnership of the American Burn Association, Children’s Burn Foundation, and the Pediatric Burn Team in Vellore, India—A Progress Report

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Foreign medical service trips, though worthy, raise questions about efficacy, durability, and cultural sensitivity. A structured intervention by a multidisciplinary team can lead to sustained and integrated changes in the delivery of burn care. The American Burn Association, Children’s Burn Foundation, and other donors have sponsored four interventions with the Pediatric Burn Center at Christian Medical Center in Vellore, India. Using qualitative research methods, we report our interventions and changes in burn care in Vellore. Using a multifaceted intervention over 2 years, there are skilled and practiced changes in burn care in Vellore, India. These changes involved changes in medical care, nursing care, wound care, operative timing, patient activity, and rehabilitation. Protocols and student and staff education tools have been developed and implemented. Major changes in burn care were observed by the visiting burn team. These skills are practiced and routinely used. The Vellore burn team reports an improvement in nursing satisfaction, patient tolerance, cleanliness, decreased antibiotic use, earlier excision and grafting, and more efficient care. Educational partnerships to improve burn care can induce durable changes, regardless of local language, culture, resources, technology, and skill.

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