THESE ARE SOME OF THE WORDS THAT ONE YOUNG ADULT USED TO DESCRIBE WHAT IT CAN FEEL LIKE TO LIVE WITH A BURN INJURY.Transition Stories
Burn injuries, can be a life changing experiencing. They can involve long stays in hospital and further treatment after discharge for many years. Treatment over the long term can involve scar management, physiotherapy and further surgery.
Burn injuries tend to happen out of the blue, often in terrible accidents, for example a house fire, a car crash, an explosion, or can happen suddenly in day to day situations, like a hot drink spill, or clothing that gets caught on a fire. Sometimes several members of a family can be involved. It can leave a child or young person feeling shocked and frightened that in the matter of a second, life as they know it can suddenly change.
If you have required hospital admission, you will know that to start with it can seem like a scary place, where you have to undergo painful procedures like dressing changes, surgery and physiotherapy. Most young people and families find however that the burns team and hospital ward can become a huge source of support and safety. It can sometimes feel hard to then make the transition to the outside world again.
Whilst going home from hospital is a goal that most young people and their families look forward to, it can also be a very daunting time with many challenges. Often it can mean facing the outside world for the first time with an appearance that has changed in some way. However big or small, visible or non-visible, a change in appearance takes a long time to adjust to. For children, their physical function may be reduced and they have to keep working on building up movement and strength.
Treatment does not stop there…
Once at home there is usually a rigorous regime of care including:
- massaging and creaming burned skin to keep it moisturised and improve the scar
- hospital appointments for wound care and then scar management
- the need to wear splints or pressure garments
- making decision about more surgery
- covering up when outside with lots of high factor sun cream
- psychological care/support
It can be hard for you and your family to stick to these routines, and many families tell us they feel guilty or stressed. The burn injury can mean lots of time out of school or college. Whilst this might sound like fun to miss school, it can be hard to catch up and can make you feel even more distant from friends.