Waging the War on Scars: Setting the Therapy Scene for Success!

Ms Stephanie  Wicks1, Ms Claire  Toose1

1The Children’s Hospital At Westmead, Westmead, Australia


Optimising the functional recovery after a significant burn injury is the common goal of all therapists rehabilitating burns survivors. Managing these injuries in the paediatric population is especially challenging as the success of the rehabilitation phase will set the scene for the years of growth and development ahead. In June 2017, a 3-year-old female was admitted to a tertiary paediatric burns referral centre with 60% TBSA full thickness circumferential flame burns to the entire upper two thirds of her body, including the head, neck, arms and trunk. This presentation will detail the therapy timeline of this patient’s journey over the course of her 6-month admission to hospital and beyond. The most challenging aspects of managing a child with many competing therapy priorities will be explored and successful strategies learnt from this experience shared. End of range axilla splinting is an approach which has been utilised by the therapy team for over 30 years to manage contractures of the axilla region and was integral in maintaining full shoulder range of movement bilaterally in this patient. From the time of injury, the battle lines are drawn in the war against scarring. As the therapy team rallies, the survivor begins the fight for their life. No two burns survivors are identical and successful therapy must be tailored to meet the needs and circumstances of the individual patient. This was particularly evident in this case, with the key to success being a flexible and constantly evolving therapy program.


Stephanie is a Senior Physiotherapist with over 8 years of experience working in paediatric burns rehabilitation. She has an interest in research and was awarded a 2016 Churchill Fellowship to investigate strategies to improve access to therapy for rural patients.


ANZBA is a not for profit organisation and the peak body for health professionals responsible for the care of the burn injured in Australia and New Zealand. ANZBA encourages higher standards of care through education, performance monitoring and research.

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