The only presently available method of measuring the outcome of major burns is the mortality rate. We have developed a scale, administered by interview and physical examination, with which the quality of life in survivors may be measured. In an initial group of 32 patients, we took each patient's own preinjury level of performance as a baseline. The size of the burn had no significant effect on the postburn score achieved. Substantial numbers of patients achieved levels superior to their preburn score. Improvement in scores did not begin until 12 months had elapsed from the time of injury.
We feel that scales such as this will help determine what happens to patients after their injury, pinpoint areas of weaknesses in the burn program, and enable better comparison of performance between clinical facilities.