Promoting access to occupational therapy following burn injury

Ms Renae Lim1, Mrs Lin Wegener1

1Canberra Hospital


Introduction: Providing responsive Occupational Therapy (OT) services following burn injury is crucial. Current evidence show that early OT intervention (as part of the multidisciplinary team) should start as soon as possible following burn injury in order to prevent deformities and maximise function and recovery.

Objectives: In early 2016, a review of referrals to OT at The Canberra Hospital following burn injury demonstrated a low number of new referrals being made, despite a significant number of patients requiring medical treatment for these injuries. A re-design of service delivery in 2016 was commenced in order to: (1) promote the role of OT following burn injury; (2) ensure evidence-based OT intervention was implemented; and (3) increase inter-professional awareness of OT services available.

Methods: This poster will outline the importance of OT intervention, as well as specific initiatives that have been implemented to improve service delivery following burn injury. These include –

  • OT attendance at weekly paediatric burns clinics for assessment and treatment.
  • Development of a specific ‘Occupational Therapy Referral Form’ following burn injury to improve direct access to services.
  • Closer liaison and benchmarking with referring tertiary hospitals in NSW.
  • Closer working relationships with medical compression garment companies.
  • Development of a ‘Burns Assessment Form’ for The Canberra Hospital.

Through these processes, referrals have now increased by over 80%; thereby, improving evidence-based clinical practice.

Conclusion: It is proposed that these initiatives will continue to increase early access to OT following burn injury, thereby improving service delivery and patient outcomes.

Renae Lim currently works at The Canberra Hospital in the area of Burns and Hand Therapy.

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