A 12-Year Comparison of Common Therapeutic Interventions in the Burn Unit

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Although most occupational and physical therapists in an acute burn care setting use similar therapy practices, the time frames at which these therapeutic interventions are carried out vary according to the burn centers' practices. The purpose of this survey was to investigate current trends in burn rehabilitation and compare the results with a similar survey performed in 1994. The survey was designed in a similar fashion to the 1994 survey to ascertain common trends in burn rehabilitation. The survey was sent to 100 randomly selected burn care facilities throughout the United States and Canada. Content included rehabilitation interventions, including evaluation, positioning, splinting, active range of motion, passive range of motion, ambulation, as well as the cross-training of therapists. Significant increases in the percentages of burn centers initiating common therapy practices were found. Positioning (41% increase), active range of motion (48% increase), passive range of motion (52% increase), and ambulation (29% increase) were all found to have increases in the number of burn centers employing these practices in the same time frame. Overall comparison from 1994 to 2006 shows that common therapy techniques are being initiated earlier in the patient's acute burn stay. These results are consistent with recent medical trends of earlier acute discharges and more focus on outpatient rehabilitation.

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