Going home – discharge information
You may be feeling many different emotions such as relief, anxiety, fear, worry, frustration, and excitement.
Things may be a little different when you return home as how you function since your burn injury may be different. Physiotherapists and occupational therapists will help to ensure your home environment is safe and functional.
After discharge, it is important to remember the following points.
- We stress the importance of moisturising because it is essential to the healing process.
- Burns damage the oil glands of the skin which reduces the skins ability to moisturise itself.
- The repair of these glands can take weeks or months.
- Firm massage of unperfumed moisturisers, such as Sorbolene, into your skin, will assist with moisturisation, reduction (and severity) of scarring and reduction of itching.
- Products that have an oatmeal component (such as Dermaveen moisturising lotion) can assist with itch reduction.
- We recommend moisturising at least three times a day however, more than this is encouraged. Moisturising is a good alternative to itching.
- Itching is a very common side effect of burn injury and wound healing.
- The best thing is to not scratch however this is often very hard.
- Dry skin can cause itching and for this reason we suggest moisturising as an alternative to scratching. Compression has also been found to assist with reducing itches and it is therefore essential to maintain your pressure garment regime.
- If itching is becoming a problem please discuss this with your nursing or medical staff as there are medications that we can give you to assist with this.
- Massage is very important to help decrease your chance of developing scarring (and its severity) and assisting to moisten the area.
- Skin normally balances the production and breakdown of collagen but after injury this process can be disrupted. This causes hardened areas to develop and if left alone these can grow in width and height.
- The best treatment in early stages of healing is firm massage, moisture and compression.
- This reduces the production of collagen and softens the area.
- Areas of burn injury, although healed, are very susceptible to sun damage for 12 months.
- You should protect yourself from the sun at all times.
- If you are going to be out in the sun 30+ SPF sunscreen, sun protective clothing and a hat are the best ways to do this.
- You need to follow the instructions of your occupational therapist’s instructions when using your pressure garments.
- Pressure garment care is very important as it maintains the effectiveness of the garment.
- Wash by hand in lukewarm water with a mild detergent (lux soap flakes).
- Pat dry with a towel and dry in shade out of direct heat or sunlight.
- DO NOT TUMBLE DRY.
- If you have any tearing or holes in your garment, contact the occupational therapist straight away.
- It is essential when using silicone products, that you follow the occupational therapist's instructions.
- Wash under warm water with a mild soap.
- Allow product to air dry on a non-linting fabric (cotton).
- You will see a physiotherapist in hospital and been given clear instructions regarding an exercise regime for you when you get home.
- Please continue with these exercises, and keep challenging yourself, within the limits you have been set.
- You may also have splints to wear. If so ensure that you and your carers are clear about when and how to use these.
- You will need to maintain a high protein high energy diet until you are completely healed and/or back to a healthy weight range.
- A day or so before your discharge discuss with the dietician and nursing staff the best possible way for you to meet your daily energy requirements.
- It is very normal to experience some disturbing flashbacks, nightmares, feelings, anxiety, fear or sensations around your burn injury and the events leading up to it.
- Sometimes just talking about the event can help.
- Please do not hesitate to discuss this with nursing or medical staff.
- If you wish to see a counsellor, the staff will arrange this for you.
Returning to Work or School
- Returning to pre-injury activity is good for your rehabilitation.
- Please discuss any concerns or issues surrounding this with our burns team.
- Team members, including the clinical nurse consultant, social worker, physiotherapist, and occupational therapist can help your return back to work or school be smoother.
- When your burns are healed you may need to attend our review clinic.
- This clinic is held in the Burns Unit outpatient area and is to monitor scar management or any complications that may have arisen since your discharge from hospital or outpatient department.
- As this clinic is only held monthly it is vital that you try to attend the appointment booked for you.
- If you cannot attend, please contact the unit on 03 6166 0098 to reschedule.
- It is important to attend the outpatient appointments arranged for you.
- If you cannot attend please contact us on 03 6166 0098 to reschedule.
- If you have any concerns, questions or queries please contact the Tasmanian Burns Unit on 03 6166 8566.
Burns Outpatient Clinic
Royal Hobart Hospital
Level 12, Wellington Clinics
Phone: 6166 0098
Fax: 6234 9636
Tasmanian Burns Unit
Weekends, Public Holidays and after hours
Royal Hobart Hospital
Orthopaedics and Surgical Specialities
K-Block Level 9 East
Phone: 6166 8565 (this service is also available 24 hours for advice)
Fax: 6234 9636