Burn Awareness Week: About UW Hospital's Burn Center
Patients seen by MFD paramedics and EMTs for significant burns are most likely to be transported to the University of Wisconsin Hospital, where they can receive customized treatment at the hospital’s Burn Center.
The University of Wisconsin Hospital admits over 400 burn patients and completes another 4000 outpatient visits every year. The Burn Center is verified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association as an adult and pediatric center. While 65% of its inpatients are adults, almost 150 children were also admitted last year.
Seriously injured burn patients are admitted to the hospital at the time of injury, sometimes critically ill, and stay for weeks and sometimes longer. As soon as a new patient arrives, the full team gets to work.
UW Hospital’s Burn physicians are trauma surgeons with special training in burns. Nurses provide ‘round the clock monitoring and complex wound care. Nutritionists are involved very quickly due to the high nutritional needs of burn patients. Patients work with Occupational and Physical Therapists to maintain mobility and function, while Case Managers and Social Workers make sure patients have what they need to safely return home as they recover. Health psychologists, chaplains, and the SOAR program peer supporters (burn survivors who support other patients) provide emotional and social support for patients and families. Some patients heal over time in UW Hospital’s care while others require one or more surgeries. Patients follow up in the outpatient clinic, as well as patients with smaller injuries that do not require hospital admission.
Flame burns and scalds are the two most common types of burns seen at UW, making up over half of the hospital’s admissions. Children are particularly vulnerable to serious scalds because of their thin skin and, sometimes, an inability to rescue themselves from contact with hot substances. The center also serves patients with other diseases impacting the skin, such as necrotizing soft tissue infection and frostbite.
As the only verified burn center in Wisconsin, UW serves as a resource for the state. The Nursing staff teaches Advanced Burn Life Support classes, offered annually to both internal and external staff.
UW Hospital provides education for EMS, paramedics, Emergency Department staff, and other health care workers. Their team also teaches prevention strategies through outreach to the community, including schools, preschools, businesses, and community events.
Due to the high demand for UW’s specialized services, the Burn Center will be expanded in 2020. They will be adding additional beds, a therapy gym, a second tub room, a children’s play room, and multiple procedure rooms. UW Hospital is excited to open this new space so that it can better serve its patients while they are there, as well as prepare them for a successful return home.
This blog was authored by Andrea Wipperfurth, Manager of Burn & Wound Healing Services at UW Hospital.
Patient injury statistics provided by UW Hospital.
Fire Chief Steven Davis serves on the UW Burn Center Burn Board.
Overture Center photo credit: Kyle Wege of Crimson Sun Studios