The use of exercise in burn rehabilitation. A worldwide survey of practice

Mr Orlando Flores1, Dr. Zephanie Tyack2, Dr. Kellie  Stockton3, Dr. Jennifer Paratz1,4

1Burns, Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre. The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 2Centre for Children’s Burns and Trauma Research, Child Health Research Centre. The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 3Physiotherapy Department, Children’s Health Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 4Rehabilitation Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia


Introduction: Exercise interventions have been used to enhance recovery of burn patients affected by hypermetabolism, muscle wasting and contractures. Although the benefits of exercise in burn population have been previously reported, the actual extent of the use of exercise in burn patients worldwide remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to identify the extent and characteristics of exercise use in specialised and non-specialised burn centres worldwide.

Methods: A web-based survey of 47 questions was developed and translated into Spanish and Chinese languages. Distribution of the surveys was made via email using personal contacts of the authors and through six scientific societies related to burn care. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics and comparisons of frequencies were analysed using Chi-square.

Results: One hundred and twenty nine surveys from 25 countries were completed (n = 96, 20 and 13 from the English, Chinese and Spanish versions respectively). The majority of the surveyed professionals worked in cities of 1 million inhabitants or more, and 93.8% worked in hospital-based burn centres. The majority of the surveyed professionals used exercise for rehabilitation of patients following burn injuries (94.58%). The extent of the use of exercise, type of interventions, and comparisons by region will be presented.

Conclusion: The criteria used for prescription and monitoring exercise in burns is variable and exercise programs offered are difficult to standardize. Further investigation is required to elucidate the access to exercise interventions post burns in remote areas and in less developed countries.


Orlando Flores is a PhD candidate in the last stage of his doctoral research project. His thesis aimed to understand the role of different interventions in the management of metabolic changes occurring post burn injuries.

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