Variation in the Management of Paediatric Burn Injuries

A collaborative study between Monash University researchers and burn surgeons across the country has investigated variation in how burn wounds in children are managed at hospitals across Australia and New Zealand.

Using data from the Burns Registry of Australia and New Zealand, the research found that three quarters of patients underwent a burn wound management procedure in theatre during their hospital stay.

Skin grafts (where a patch of skin is surgically removed from one area of the body and attached to another area) were the most common type of management, with more than half the patients who went to theatre undergoing such a procedure.

Interestingly, the proportion of patients went to theatre for a burn wound management procedure varied between the 12 hospitals included in the study. This figure ranged from 46% at one service to 95% at another. Differences in the type and severity of injuries admitted to each hospital may explain this variation, but differences in how hospitals manage similar injuries may also be a contributing factor.

The findings are now in press in ANZ Journal of Surgery.

The researchers hope this paper will be used as a catalyst to enhance communication between specialist burn services in Australia and New Zealand to improve our understanding of how different surgeons and hospitals manage similar burn injuries, and which approach (or model of care) leads to the best outcomes for patients.

Read the full paper in ANZ Journal of Surgery titled Variation in burn wound management approaches for paediatric burn patients in Australia and New Zealand here.

Please contact corresponding author Dr Lincoln Tracy (lincoln[dot]tracy[at]monash[dot]edu) if you are unable to access the article.