Burn Rehabilitation

Burn rehabilitation can be a lifelong process for patients who suffer severe burns. Burns such as third degree burns and burns over large areas of the body can have devastating physical and psychological effects on patients. Burn rehabilitation for severe burn injuries often includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and psychiatric therapy. For the best outcome, the burn rehabilitation process should begin immediately. Some patients may undergo various forms of burn rehabilitation for months or years after the injury occurs.

Types of Burn Rehabilitation

The goal of burn rehabilitation is to restore the patient’s quality of life as quickly and effectively as possible. In severe burn victims, this restoration is painful, difficult, and time-consuming. Burn rehabilitation focuses on a holistic physical, mental, and emotional treatment plan. In addition to therapy, burn wound management should continue to minimize scarring and functional issues that can result.


Physiotherapy will often depend on the size of the burn injuries and whether or not they span across joints. This consideration is important because healed skin often contracts, or pulls together. When this occurs over joints, the patient will often experience a decrease in mobility. Physiotherapy aims to maintain and restore the joint’s range of motion.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy helps burn patients to recover, maintain life skills, and return to daily life with minimal changes or issues. Occupational therapy encourages burn victims to participate in daily living activities. In the early stages of burn rehabilitation, these activities may involve eating and bathing. During later burn rehabilitation stages, these activities may involve work-related tasks. The goal of occupational therapy is to encourage the patient to become as independent and self-sufficient as possible. This helps with both physical and psychiatric recovery from the burn injury.

Psychiatric Therapy

In addition to severe pain during the treatment and recovery process, burn victims may also face psychological trauma. Conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression may have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life. Additionally, severe burn scarring and disfigurement may negatively impact the patient’s ability to cope and reintegrate back into society.

Burn Rehabilitation in Children

Intensive burn rehabilitation is particularly important in children due to their increased physical and psychological vulnerability. Physiotherapy is crucial, as the growth of a child demands elasticity and health of the skin. Children with skin contractures may require several surgeries to transplant additional skin so that the child can maintain normal movement. Children with burn scarring or disfigurement may also have increased difficulty with self-esteem, self-acceptance, and social integration with peers.




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