Improving Physiotherapists’ Capabilities in the Management of Complex Paediatric Burn Injuries in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit through Simulated Learning

Ms Crystle Gambetta1,2, Mrs Sarah Wright2

1Pegg Leditschke Children’s Burns Centre, Brisbane, Australia, 2Children’s Health Queensland HHS, Brisbane, Australia


Background: Burn injuries requiring admission to paediatric intensive care unit(PICU) although less frequent, are often larger TBSA injuries with associated increased morbidity. Physiotherapy management for these children is multifaceted, requiring specialised knowledge and skills to manage respiratory and musculo-skeletal compromise. QCH physiotherapy delivers a 7-day service requiring staff with limited critical care or burns experience to manage these children at weekends. CHQ has delivered targeted simulated learning to pre-& post registered physiotherapists across Queensland for 10 years. It has demonstrated a significant increase in confidence, capability and self-efficacy in acute cardiorespiratory care[1], however a burns scenario had not been developed that targeted the technical and non-technical skills required for this speciality.

Aim: To develop and deliver a simulated scenario, will increase confidence and self-efficacy of physiotherapists managing complex burn injuries within a tertiary PICU setting.

Method: Single centred study(QCH) involving physiotherapists working weekends. Burns SME(subject matter expert) in collaboration with simulation team to develop a scenario for a burn injury, requiring ventilation within the PICU. Specific learning objectives embedded for situational awareness, clinical decision making, communication and teamwork. Descriptive and qualitative data to be collected, including self-efficacy and reactionnaire® to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Burns injury scenario developed with targeted objectives that will provide physiotherapists with the capabilities to deliver safe and effective care. Data and feedback regarding the model of training will be presented.

Conclusion: Scenario well received by simulation team and to be included with the training of all QCH weekend staff (approx.40).

[1]Wright et al.Pediatr Crit Care Med.2014;15(4):1006


Crystle has  9 years experience primarily in paediatrics and worked at Queensland Children’s Hospital for 4 years extensively with the burns service.

Her areas of interest include rehabilitation of lower limb burn injuries as well  as training and supporting physiotherapists across the State regarding physiotherapy in burns and plastics.


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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