It’s the little things

Kirsten Van Asten 1, Geranne D’Souza 2, Abbey Cousens 3

1Kirsten Van Asten, Physiotherapist, Counties Manukau Health, National Burn Centre, Auckland 1640 New Zealand.
2Geranne D’Souza, Occupational Therapist, Counties Manukau Health, National Burn Centre, Auckland 1640 New Zealand, Geranne.D’
3Abbey Cousens, Social worker, Counties Manukau Health, National Burn Centre, Auckland 1640 New Zealand

60% Full thickness TBSA, Self Immolation, Diabetes, Hep C positive, Borderline Personality disorder. Sound familiar? This sort of patient is not uncommon to a large burns unit. We know there are big challenges facing this patient. It’s what we expect to some degree. Yet despite the complexity of this patient’s injury, it was non-burn related issues that turned an anticipated 3-4 month length of stay into a 324 day admission. Suffice to say, this patient broke all our expectations, and not in a good way. So what do you do when (despite your best efforts) you’re just not making headway?

This presentation will focus on the journey our staff took while treating this challenging patient and the resilience required to work with someone for this length of time. Our aim is not to complain about how difficult things can be but rather how changing our expectations and taking baby steps was the way forward – how the little things could make a difference between a successful, productive day and a day doomed to failure from the offset. Unfortunately this isn’t the story of our greatest success but it was an unforgettable journey and one we learned a great deal from.

Key Words

Resilence, small steps, challenge, compromise.


I am an senior physiotherapist with 15years experience. I have worked both here in New Zealand and over seas in different burn centres. I have a passion for working with patients with significant burn injuries and all the other challenges that they bring with them.

Recent Comments