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Physiotherapy and occupational therapy for burns patients

Will occupational therapy and physiotherapy be involved in my child’s treatment?

After admission to the Burns Unit, your child will be assessed by the therapy team for any further treatment needs.

Your child will usually be seen during their appointments for dressing changes or in their cubicle on the ward.

What do physiotherapists and occupational therapists do?

Physiotherapists and occupational therapists can:

  • check wound healing
  • talk to you about the importance of moving the affected joint to keep tissue healthy
  • check how well your child’s joints move and work towards your full movement
  • look at how they play and live to see how they can dress, reach and feed
  • give a home exercise programme, play advice or splints
  • advise or provide equipment for home
  • give advice on when to return back to school and talk with school if needed
  • give advice on when to return back to sports

Will a therapist see my child every visit?

They are likely to see your child if:

  • the burn is over or close to a joint, such as shoulder, hand, knee or ankle
  • the face or neck are involved
  • pain is impacting your child’s walking or movement
  • your child is having difficulty moving or exercising
  • the burn covers a large area

Normal therapy working hours are Monday to Friday and Sunday for inpatients only.

Will the burn leave a scar?

There are several things that affect the risk of having a scar. These include:

  • how deep the wound is
  • healing time
  • genetics
  • skin type
  • age
  • size and location of the burn
  • surgery

If your child is at risk of scarring, your therapist will talk to you about how to manage the scar. Scar management can be needed for up to 2 years after the injury and as your child grows.

How can you help?

  • Continue with play and normal activities as advised by your therapist.
  • Complete your home exercise programme daily.
  • Take regular pain relief if needed.
  • Avoid busy and crowded areas such as shopping centres, parties, and school.
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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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