Acting fast has big impact on burns recovery

Physiotherapist and nurse helping elderly patient with rehabilitation exercises
Physiotherapist Dale Edgar, Peter Campbel-Price and State Burns Clinical Nurse Consultant Sharon Rowe
June 28, 2019

The routine task of changing the gas bottle on his barbecue had a devastating impact on 70-year-old Peter Campbel-Price.

Peter sustained burns to 25 percent of his body when the gas bottle cap blew off and the bottle exploded. 

Luckily Peter’s wife, Susan, was at home and put out the flames with their garden hose. He was then rushed to the Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) State Burns Unit for treatment.

FSH State Burns Clinical Nurse Consultant Sharon Rowe said first aid was vital to decreasing the depth of a burn injury, particular for older people.

“When we age our skin becomes thinner, so an older person is more likely to have a deeper burn,” Sharon said.

“We know that accidents can and do happen, and if they do, the quality of the first aid treatment provided immediately after the incident has a big impact on recovery outcomes for the patient.”

At least 20 minutes of cool running water on the burn will decrease the need for surgery by 51 percent.  As we get older staying fit and healthy, and knowing the correct first aid for burns, can also change the course of a burns injury.

Peter spent 31 days at FSH and now attends the outpatient clinic twice a week for dressing and gym appointments.

“The State Burns Unit takes a whole of body approach for every patient with a burn injury regardless of age. We know that exercise leads to faster wound healing and a general improvement in health,” Sharon said.

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