Addressing the Burden of Burn Injury Utilizing a Comprehensive Holistic Innovative Approach
Heffernan, Jamie M.
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Session presented on Saturday, July 25, 2015: Background: 'I woke up and all I could see was smoke. I could hardly breathe. Then it dawned on me- the house was on fire. All I could think about is..Lord, please get my wife and kids out of this house alive.' Most of us will thankfully never experience the life-changing events of a buRNurvivor, their families, and loved ones. In a matter of seconds, lives are tragically lost or irrevocably changed. BuRNnjuries are quoted as one of the worst traumatic injuries. They are painful, costly, disfiguring, may worsen over time, require extensive rehabilitation, and may be associated with long term disability (HeffeRN & Comeau, 2014). The global burden of buRNnjuries is significant. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 265,000 deaths occur each year from buRNnjuries with the majority occurring in low and middle income countries. Additionally, these preventable injuries are a leading cause of morbidity worldwide. The millions who survive are often disabled for the rest of their lives and the resulting disfigurements may result in social stigmas and rejection (WHO, 2014). Introduction: Dr. Richard Gamelli, the president of the international Society for BuRNnjuries (ISBI), has challenged the global community to meet goals to improve outcomes of buRNatients, with emphasis on the importance of partnerships, education, training and advocacy. One important goal is to consider the unique needs of each local community (ISBI, 2014). In an effort to transcend above and beyond the routine care of hospitalized buRNatients, one buRNenter in Southeast Texas has successfully implemented a bundled program to address the complex, holistic needs of adult buRNatients beyond the walls of the buRNenter itself. Elements of the bundle include 1.) prevention and education, 2.) the Phoenix Society's Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) program, 3.) Blocker BuRNhampions (BBC), and 4.) The Dr. Sally Abston Memorial Fund for BuRNurvivors. Description: The first element of the bundle is education on buRNrevention and early treatment of an acute buRNnjury. Numerous community outreach prevention activities have been conducted at area schools, local industrial and chemical plants, and other venues. Examples of topics presented include smoke detector use and maintenance, avoiding scald buRN and protective wear for industries. In addition to buRNrevention, many professional development opportunities on early treatment have been provided to local community hospitals, fire fighters, regional emergency medical services, and first responders at industrial plants. Educating prehospital providers and referring hospitals is paramount to optimizing outcomes. The literature supports the need for collaborative relationships between the prehospital setting, emergency departments and buRNenters for the promotion of positive outcomes for buRNatients (Zaletel, 2009). The second element of the bundle is the enrollment in the Phoenix Society's Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery (SOAR) program. SOAR is an established evidence based hospital program that many hospitals elect to offer locally. The program trains buRNurvivors and their families to provide emotional support to buRNatients and their loved ones. The value of SOAR is the provision of support for the overwhelming psychosocial recovery needs of buRNurvivors and the opportunity for former buRNatients to inform and inspire others. The third element of the bundle is the formation of a charitable organization (BBC) to provide financial support, free of charge, for buRNatients who meet specified criteria. Examples of this support include funding for pharmacy bills, transportation costs, medical equipment, and various personal needs. The organization's board consists of nurses and other interdisciplinary members of the buRNeam who volunteer their time. Monies generated for this organization are from various fundraisers that are held throughout the year. The fourth element of the bundle is financial assistance for buRNurvivors to attend the annual international conference sponsored by the Phoenix Society. This popular multiday conference is geared for buRNurvivors, their support systems, fire fighters, prehospital providers, and buRNrofessionals. Its popularity includes the opportunity for buRNatients and caregivers to network and support each other. This assistance for sponsorship was initially made possible by a generous donation from a grateful former patient with the stipulation that the funds would be used to send future buRNurvivors to this conference. Outcomes and Impact: Forty nine community outreach and education events were provided over the most recent 3 year period. Numerous patients and their families have been financially and emotionally supported by SOAR, the charitable organization (BBC), and the funds for the annual buRNurvivor conference. The true retuRNn investment is priceless- a local community focused on buRNrevention, regional area providers engaged in evidence-based care to improve early treatment, and the provision of psychosocial support for buRNurvivors and their loved ones. Implications: The theme for the 26th international Nursing Research Congress is question locally, engage regionally, apply globally. According to Dr. Richard Gamelli, the president of the international Society for BuRNnjuries (ISBI), 'if we work together as a worldwide buRNeam we can elevate the level of buRNare and lessen the global burden of buRNnjury' (ISBI, 2014, para 4). As a global community of energetic and committed nurses, we can rise to this challenge utilizing creative and innovative strategies. Through community partnerships, education, and patient advocacy we can all make an impact, one patient and local community at a time.