Feb 22, 2011


Each year, more than 2 million burn injuries occur in the United States; approximately 100,000 people require hospital care. Thermal burns, which are the most common type, occur because of fires, motor vehicle crashes, home fires, hot liquid spills, electrical malfunctions, and war. Survival rates have risen because of newer treatments and skin barrier development; however, moderate and severe burns account for many dollars spent on physical and psychological rehabilitation.

Thermal burns: Injuring agent can be flame, hot liquid, or contact with hot object. Flame burns are associated with smoke/inhalation injury.

Chemical burns: Occur from type/content of injuring agent, as well as concentration and temperature of agent.

Electrical burns: Occur from type/voltage of current that generates heat in proportion to resistance offered and travels the pathway of least resistance (i.e., nerves offer the least resistance and bones the greatest resistance). Underlying injury is more severe than visible injury.

Superficial partial-thickness (first-degree) burns: Involve only the epidermis. Wounds appear bright pink to red with minimal edema and no blisters. The skin is often warm/dry.

Moderate partial-thickness (second-degree) burns: Involve the epidermis and dermis. Wounds appear red to pink with moderate edema and moist, weeping blisters.

Deep partial-thickness (second-degree) burns: Involve the deep dermis. Wounds appear pink to pale ivory with moderate edema and blisters. These wounds are dryer than moderate partial-thickness burns.

Full-thickness (third-degree) burns: Involve all layers of skin, subcutaneous fat, and may involve the muscle, nerves, and blood supply. Wound appearance varies from white to cherry red to brown or black, with blistering uncommon. These wounds have a dry, leathery texture.

Full-thickness (fourth-degree) burns: Involve all skin layers plus muscle, organ tissue, and bone. Charring occurs.


The following adult patients are admitted for acute care and during the rehabilitation phase may be cared for in a subacute or rehabilitation unit: those with partial-thickness burns more than 15% total body surface area (TBSA) or whose age is considered high risk (older than 65 years of age); full-thickness burns more than 2% of TBSA; burns of face, both hands, perineum, or both feet; or inhalation and all electrical burns.


Disaster considerations

Fluid and electrolyte imbalances

Metabolic acidosis (primary base bicarbonate deficiency)

Psychosocial aspects of care

Respiratory acidosis (primary carbonic acid excess)


Surgical intervention

Total nutritional support: parenteral/enteral feeding

Upper gastrointestinal/esophageal bleeding

Patient Assessment Database

Data depend on type, severity, and body surface area involved.


May exhibit: Decreased strength, endurance

Limited range of motion (ROM) of involved areas

Impaired muscle mass, altered tone


May exhibit Hypotension (shock)

(with burn injury Peripheral pulses diminished distal to extremity injury; generalized peripheral

involving more vasoconstriction with loss of pulses, mottling of skin, and coolness (electrical shock)

than 20% TBSA): Tachycardia (shock/anxiety/pain)

Dysrhythmias (electrical shock)

Tissue edema formation (all burns)


May report: Feeling scared, self-conscious, conspicuous, angry, embarrassed, different

Concerns about family, job, finances, disfigurement

May exhibit: Anxiety, crying, dependency, denial, withdrawal, hostility, aggressive behavior


May exhibit: Urinary output decreased/absent during emergent phase; color may be pink (hemochromogens from damaged red blood cells [RBCs]) or reddish black if myoglobin present, indicating deep-muscle damage

Diuresis (after capillary leak sealed and fluids mobilized back into circulation)

Bowel sounds decreased/absent, especially in cutaneous burns of more than 20%, because stress reduces gastric motility/peristalsis


May exhibit: Generalized tissue edema (swelling is rapid and may be extreme in early hours after injury)

Anorexia, nausea/vomiting


May report: Mixed areas of numbness, tingling, burning pain

Changes in vision, decreased visual acuity (electrical shock)

May exhibit: Changes in orientation, affect, behavior

Decreased deep tendon reflexes (DTRs), reflexes and sensation in injured extremities

Seizure activity (electrical shock)

Corneal lacerations, retinal damage (electrical shock)

Rupture of tympanic membrane (electrical shock)

Paralysis (electrical injury to nerve pathways)


May report: Pain varies, e.g., first-degree burns are extremely sensitive to touch, pressure, air movement, and temperature changes; second-degree moderate-thickness burns are very painful, whereas pain response in second-degree deep-thickness burns depends on intactness of nerve endings; third-degree burns are painless


May report: Confinement in a closed space, prolonged exposure (possibility of inhalation injury)

May exhibit: Hoarseness, wheezy cough, carbonaceous particles on face/in sputum, drooling/inability to swallow oral secretions, and cyanosis (indicative of inhalation injury)

Thoracic excursion may be limited in presence of circumferential chest burns

Upper airway stridor/wheezes (obstruction due to laryngospasm, laryngeal edema)

Breath sounds: Crackles (pulmonary edema), stridor (laryngeal edema), profuse airway secretions/ wheezing (rhonchi)


May exhibit: Skin:

General: Exact depth of tissue destruction may not be evident for 3–5 days because of the process of microvascular thrombosis in some wounds; unburned skin areas may be cool/clammy, pale, with slow capillary refill in the presence of decreasedcardiac output as a result of fluid loss/ shock state

Flame injury: There may be areas of mixed depth of injury because of varied intensity of heat produced by burning clothing; singed nasal hairs; dry, red mucosa of nose and mouth; blisters on posterior pharynx, circumoral and/or circumnasal edema

Chemical injury: Wound appearance varies according to causative agent; skin may be yellowish brown with soft leather-like texture; blisters, ulcers, necrosis, or thick eschar. (Injuries are generally deeper than they appear cutaneously, and tissue destruction can continue for up to 72 hr after injury.)

Electrical injury: The external cutaneous injury is usually much less than the underlying necrosis; appearance of wounds varies and may include entry/exit (explosive) wounds of current, arc burns from current moving in close proximity to body, and thermal burns due to ignition of clothing

Other: Presence of fractures/dislocations (concurrent falls, motor vehicle accident; tetanic muscle contractions due to electrical shock)


Discharge plan DRG projected mean length of inpatient stay: dependent on burn percentage and specific

considerations: surgical procedure(s) required

May require assistance with treatments, wound care/supplies, self-care activities, homemaker/maintenance tasks, transportation, finances, vocational counseling

Changes in physical layout of home or living facility other than home during prolonged rehabilitation

Refer to section at end of plan for postdischarge considerations.


Complete blood count (CBC): Initial increased hematocrit (Hct) suggests hemoconcentration due to fluid shift/loss. Later decreased Hct and RBCs may occur because of heat damage to vascular endothelium. Leukocytosis (decreased white blood cells [WBCs]) can occur because of loss of cells at wound site and inflammatory response to injury.

Arterial blood gases (ABGs): Baseline especially important with suspicion of inhalation injury. Reduced Pao2/increased Paco2 may be seen with carbon monoxide retention. Acidosis may occur because of reduced renal function and loss of compensatory respiratory mechanisms.

Carboxyhemoglobin (COHb): Elevation of more than 15% indicates carbon monoxide poisoning/inhalation injury.

Serum electrolytes: Potassium level may be initially elevated because of injured tissues/RBC destruction and decreased renal function; hypokalemia can occur when diuresis starts; magnesium level may be decreased. Sodium level may initially be decreased with body water losses; hypernatremia can occur later as renal conservation occurs.

Alkaline phosphatase: Elevated because of interstitial fluid shifts/impairment of sodium pump.

Serum glucose: Elevation reflects stress response.

Serum albumin: Albumin/globulin ratio may be reversed as a result of loss of protein in edema fluid.

Blood urea nitrogen (BUN)/creatinine (Cr): Elevation reflects decreased renal perfusion/function; however, Cr level can elevate because of tissue injury.

Urine: Presence of albumin, hemoglobin (Hb), and myoglobin indicates deep-tissue damage and protein loss (especially seen with serious electrical burns). Reddish-black color of urine is due to presence of myoglobin.

Random urine sodium: More than 20 mEq/L indicates excessive fluid resuscitation; less than 10 mEq/L suggests inadequate fluid resuscitation.

Wound cultures: May be obtained for baseline data and repeated periodically.

Chest x-ray: May appear normal in early postburn period even with inhalation injury; however, a true inhalation injury presents as infiltrates, often progressing to whiteout on x-ray (adult respiratory distress syndrome [ARDS]).

Fiberoptic bronchoscopy: Useful in diagnosing extent of inhalation injury; findings can include edema, hemorrhage, and/or ulceration of upper respiratory tract.

Flow volume loop: Provides noninvasive assessment of effects/extent of inhalation injury.

Lung scan: May be done to determine extent of inhalation injury.

Electrocardiogram (ECG): Signs of myocardial ischemia/dysrhythmias may occur with electrical burns.

Photographs of burns: Provide documentation of burn-wound and comparative baseline to evaluate healing.


1. Maintain patent airway/respiratory function.

2. Restore hemodynamic stability/circulating volume.

3. Alleviate pain.

4. Prevent complications.

5. Provide emotional support for patient/significant other (SO).

6. Provide information about condition, prognosis, and treatment.


1. Homeostasis achieved.

2. Pain controlled/reduced.

3. Complications prevented/minimized.

4. Dealing with current situation realistically.

5. Condition/prognosis and therapeutic regimen understood.

6. Plan in place to meet needs after discharge.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Airway Clearance, risk for ineffective

Risk factors may include

Tracheobronchial obstruction: mucosal edema and loss of ciliary action (smoke inhalation); circumferential full-thickness burns of the neck, thorax, and chest, with compression of the airway or limited chest excursion

Trauma: direct upper-airway injury by flame, steam, hot air, and chemicals/gases

Fluid shifts, pulmonary edema, decreased lung compliance

Possibly evidenced by

[Not applicable; presence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual diagnosis.]


Respiratory Status: Airway Patency (NOC)

Demonstrate clear breath sounds, respiratory rate within normal range, be free of dyspnea/cyanosis.


Respiratory Monitoring (NIC)


Obtain history of injury. Note presence of preexisting respiratory conditions, history of smoking.

Assess gag/swallow reflexes; note drooling, inability to swallow, hoarseness, wheezy cough.

Monitor respiratory rate, rhythm, depth; note presence of pallor/cyanosis and carbonaceous or pink-tinged sputum.

Auscultate lungs, noting stridor, wheezing/crackles, diminished breath sounds, brassy cough.

Note presence of pallor or cherry-red color of unburned skin.

Investigate changes in behavior/mentation, e.g., restlessness, agitation, confusion.


Causative burning agent, duration of exposure, and occurrence in closed or open space predict probability of inhalation injury. Type of material burned (wood, plastic, wool, and so forth) suggests type of toxic gas exposure. Preexisting conditions increase the risk of respiratory complications.

Suggestive of inhalation injury.

Tachypnea, use of accessory muscles, presence of cyanosis, and changes in sputum suggest developing respiratory distress/pulmonary edema and need for medical intervention.

Airway obstruction/respiratory distress can occur very quickly or may be delayed, e.g., up to 48 hr after burn.

Suggests presence of hypoxemia or carbon monoxide.

Although often related to pain, changes in consciousness may reflect developing/worsening hypoxia.


Respiratory Monitoring (NIC)


Monitor 24-hr fluid balance, noting variations/changes.

Airway Management (NIC)

Elevate head of bed. Avoid use of pillow under head, as indicated.

Encourage coughing/deep-breathing exercises and frequent position changes.

Suction (if necessary) with extreme care, maintaining sterile technique.

Promote voice rest, but assess ability to speak and/or swallow oral secretions periodically.


Administer humidified oxygen via appropriate mode, e.g., face mask.

Monitor/graph serial ABGs or pulse oximetry.

Review serial chest x-rays.

Provide/assist with chest physiotherapy and incentive spirometry.

Prepare for/assist with intubation or tracheostomy, as indicated.


Fluid shifts or excess fluid replacement increases risk of pulmonary edema. Note: Inhalation injury increases fluid demands as much as 35% or more because of obligatory edema.

Promotes optimal lung expansion/respiratory function. When head/neck burns are present, a pillow can inhibit respiration, cause necrosis of burned ear cartilage, and promote neck contractures.

Promotes lung expansion, mobilization and drainage of secretions.

Helps maintain clear airway, but should be done cautiously because of mucosal edema and inflammation. Sterile technique reduces risk of infection.

Increasing hoarseness/decreased ability to swallow suggests increasing tracheal edema and may indicate need for prompt intubation.

O2 corrects hypoxemia/acidosis. Humidity decreases drying of respiratory tract and reduces viscosity of sputum.

Baseline is essential for further assessment of respiratory status and as a guide to treatment. Pao2 less than 50, Paco2 greater than 50, and decreasing pH reflect smoke inhalation and developing pneumonia/ARDS.

Changes reflecting atelectasis/pulmonary edema may not occur for 2–3 days after burn.

Chest physiotherapy drains dependent areas of the lung, and incentive spirometry may be done to improve lung expansion, thereby promoting respiratory function and reducing atelectasis.

Intubation/mechanical support is required when airway edema or circumferential burn injury interferes with respiratory function/oxygenation.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Fluid Volume, risk for deficient

Risk factors may include

Loss of fluid through abnormal routes, e.g., burn wounds

Increased need: hypermetabolic state, insufficient intake

Hemorrhagic losses

Possibly evidenced by

[Not applicable; presence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual diagnosis.]


Hydration (NOC)

Demonstrate improved fluid balance as evidenced by individually adequate urinary output with normal specific gravity, stable vital signs, moist mucous membranes.


Shock Prevention (NIC)


Monitor vital signs, central venous pressure (CVP). Note capillary refill and strength of peripheral pulses.

Monitor urinary output and specific gravity. Observe urine color and Hematest as indicated.

Estimate wound drainage and insensible losses.

Maintain cumulative record of amount and types of fluid intake.

Weigh daily.


Serves as a guide to fluid replacement needs and assesses cardiovascular response. Note: Invasive monitoring is indicated for patients with major burns, smoke inhalation, or preexisting cardiac disease, although there is an associated increased risk of infection, necessitating careful monitoring and care of insertion site.

Generally, fluid replacement should be titrated to ensure average urinary output of 30–50 mL/hr (in the adult). Urine can appear red to black (with massive muscle destruction) because of presence of blood and release of myoglobin. If gross myoglobinuria is present, minimum urinary output should be 75–100 mL/hr to reduce risk of tubular damage and renal failure.

Increased capillary permeability, protein shifts, inflammatory process, and evaporative losses greatly affect circulating volume and urinary output, especially during initial 24–72 hr after burn injury.

Massive/rapid replacement with different types of fluids and fluctuations in rate of administration require close tabulation to prevent constituent imbalances or fluid overload.

Fluid replacement formulas partly depend on admission weight and subsequent changes. A 15%–20% weight gain can be anticipated in the first 72 hr during fluid replacement, with return to preburn weight approximately 10 days after burn.


Shock Prevention (NIC)


Measure circumference of burned extremities as indicated.

Investigate changes in mentation.

Observe for gastric distension, hematemesis, tarry stools. Hematest nasogastric (NG) drainage and stools periodically.


Insert/maintain indwelling urinary catheter.

Insert/maintain large-bore IV catheter(s).

Administer calculated IV replacement of fluids, electrolytes, plasma, albumin.

Monitor laboratory studies (e.g., Hb/Hct, electrolytes, random urine sodium).

Administer medications as indicated:

Diuretics, e.g., mannitol (Osmitrol);


Antacids, e.g., calcium carbonate (Titralac), magaldrate (Riopan); histamine inhibitors, e.g., cimetidine (Tagamet)/ranitidine (Zantac).


May be helpful in estimating extent of edema/fluid shifts affecting circulating volume and urinary output.

Deterioration in the level of consciousness may indicate inadequate circulating volume/reduced cerebral perfusion.

Stress (Curling’s) ulcer occurs in up to half of all severely burned patients and can occur as early as the first week. Patients with burns more than 20% TBSA are at risk for mucosal bleeding in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract during the acute phase because of decreased splanchnic blood flow and reflex paralytic ileus.

Allows for close observation of renal function and prevents urinary retention. Retention of urine with its by-products of tissue-cell destruction can lead to renal dysfunction and infection.

Accommodates rapid infusion of fluids.

Fluid resuscitation replaces lost fluids/electrolytes and helps prevent complications, e.g., shock, acute tubular necrosis (ATN). Replacement formulas vary (e.g., Brooke, Evans, Parkland) but are based on extent of injury, amount of urinary output, and weight. Note: Once initial fluid resuscitation has been accomplished, a steady rate of fluid administration is preferred to boluses, which may increase interstitial fluid shifts and cardiopulmonary congestion.

Identifies blood loss/RBC destruction and fluid and electrolyte replacement needs. Urine sodium less than 10 mEq/L suggests inadequate fluid resuscitation. Note: During first 24 hr after burn, hemoconcentration is common because of fluid shifts into the interstitial space.

May be indicated to enhance urinary output and clear tubules of debris/prevent necrosis if acute renal failure (ARF) is present.

Although hyperkalemia often occurs during first 24–48 hr (tissue destruction), subsequent replacement may be necessary because of large urinary losses.

Antacids may reduce gastric acidity; histamine inhibitors decrease production of hydrochloric acid to reduce risk of gastric irritation/bleeding.


Shock Prevention (NIC)


Add electrolytes to water used for wound debridement, as indicated.


Washing solution that approximates tissue fluids may minimize osmotic fluid shifts.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Infection, risk for

Risk factors may include

Inadequate primary defenses: destruction of skin barrier, traumatized tissues

Inadequate secondary defenses: decreased Hb, suppressed inflammatory response

Environmental exposure, invasive procedures

Possibly evidenced by

[Not applicable; presence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual diagnosis.]


Wound Healing—Secondary Intention (NOC)

Achieve timely wound healing free of purulent exudate and be afebrile.


Infection Protection (NIC)


Implement appropriate isolation techniques as indicated.

Emphasize/model good handwashing technique for all individuals coming in contact with patient.

Use gowns, gloves, masks, and strict aseptic technique during direct wound care and provide sterile or freshly laundered bed linens/gowns.

Monitor/limit visitors, if necessary. If isolation is used, explain procedure to visitors. Supervise visitor adherence to protocol as indicated.


Dependent on type/extent of wounds and the choice of wound treatment (e.g., open versus closed), isolation may range from simple wound/skin to complete or reverse to reduce risk of cross-contamination and exposure to multiple bacterial flora.

Prevents cross-contamination; reduces risk of acquired infection.

Prevents exposure to infectious organisms.

Prevents cross-contamination from visitors. Concern for risk of infection should be balanced against patient’s need for family support and socialization.


Wound Care (NIC)


Shave/clip all hair from around burned areas to include a1-in border (excluding eyebrows). Shave facial hair (men) and shampoo head daily.

Examine unburned areas (such as groin, neck creases, mucous membranes) and vaginal discharge routinely.

Provide special care for eyes, e.g., use eye covers and tear formulas as appropriate.

Prevent skin-to-skin surface contact (e.g., wrap each burned finger/toe separately; do not allow burned ear to touch scalp).

Examine wounds daily, note/document changes in appearance, odor, or quantity of drainage.

Monitor vital signs for fever, increased respiratory rate/depth in association with changes in sensorium, presence of diarrhea, decreased platelet count, and hyperglycemia with glycosuria.


Remove dressings and cleanse burned areas in a hydrotherapy/whirlpool tub or in a shower stall with handheld shower head. Maintain temperature of water at100°F (37.8°C). Wash areas with a mild cleansing agent or surgical soap.

Excise and cover burn wounds quickly.

Debride necrotic/loose tissue (including ruptured blisters) with scissors and forceps. Do not disturb intact blisters if they are smaller than 1–2 cm, do not interfere with joint function, and do not appear infected.

Photograph wound initially and at periodic intervals.


Hair is a good medium for bacterial growth; however, eyebrows act as a protective barrier for the eyes. Regular shampooing decreases bacterial fallout into burned areas.

Opportunistic infections (e.g., yeast) frequently occur because of depression of the immune system and/or proliferation of normal body flora during systemic antibiotic therapy.

Eyes may be swollen shut and/or become infected by drainage from surrounding burns. If lids are burned, eye covers may be needed to prevent corneal damage.

Prevents adherence to surface it may be touching and encourages proper healing. Note: Ear cartilage has limited circulation and is prone to pressure necrosis.

Identifies presence of healing (granulation tissue) and provides for early detection of burn-wound infection. Infection in a partial-thickness burn may cause conversion of burn to full-thickness injury. Note: A strong sweet, musty smell at a graft site is indicative of Pseudomonas.

Indicators of sepsis (often occurs with full-thickness burn) requiring prompt evaluation and intervention. Note: Changes in sensorium, bowel habits, and respiratory rate usually precede fever and alteration of laboratory studies.

Water softens and aids in removal of dressings and eschar (slough layer of dead skin or tissue). Sources vary as to whether bath or shower is best. Bath has advantage of water providing support for exercising extremities but may promote cross-contamination of wounds. Showering enhances wound inspection and prevents contamination from floating debris.

Early excision is known to reduce scarring and risk of infection, thereby facilitating healing.

Promotes healing. Prevents autocontamination. Small, intact blisters help protect skin and increase rate of re-epithelialization unless the burn injury is the result of chemicals (in which case fluid contained in blisters may continue to cause tissue destruction).

Provides baseline and documentation of healing process.


Wound Care (NIC)


Administer topical agents as indicated, e.g.:

Silver sulfadiazine (Silvadene);

Mafenide acetate (Sulfamylon);

Silver nitrate;


Povidone-iodine (Betadine);

Hydrogels, e.g., Transorb, Burnfree.

Administer other medications as appropriate, e.g.;

Subeschar clysis/systemic antibiotics;

Tetanus toxoid or clostridial antitoxin, as appropriate.


The following agents help control bacterial growth and prevent drying of wound, which can cause further tissue destruction.

Broad-spectrum antimicrobial that is relatively painless but has intermediate, somewhat delayed eschar penetration. May cause rash or depression of WBCs.

Antibiotic of choice with confirmed invasive burn-wound infection. Useful against Gram-negative/Gram-positive organisms. Causes burning/pain on application and for 30 min thereafter. Can cause rash, metabolic acidosis, and decreased Paco2.

Effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, but has poor eschar penetration, is painful, and may cause electrolyte imbalance. Dressings must be constantly saturated. Product stains skin/surfaces black.

Effective against Gram-positive organisms and is generally used for superficial and facial burns.

Broad-spectrum antimicrobial, but is painful on application, may cause metabolic acidosis/increased iodine absorption, and damage fragile tissues.

Useful for partial- and full-thickness burns; filling dead spaces, rehydrating dry wound beds, and promoting autolytic debridement. May be used when infection is present.

Systemic antibiotics are given to control general infections identified by culture/sensitivity. Subeschar clysis has been found effective against pathogens in granulated tissues at the line of demarcation between viable/nonviable tissue, reducing risk of sepsis.

Tissue destruction/altered defense mechanisms increase risk of developing tetanus or gas gangrene, especially in deep burns such as those caused by electricity.


Infection Prevention (NIC)


Place IV/invasive lines in nonburned area.

Obtain routine cultures and sensitivities of wounds/drainage.

Assist with excisional biopsies when infection is suspected.


Decreased risk of infection at insertion site with possibility of progression to septicemia.

Allows early recognition and specific treatment of wound infection.

Bacteria can colonize the wound surface without invading the underlying tissue; therefore, biopsies may be obtained for diagnosing infection.


May be related to

Destruction of skin/tissues; edema formation

Manipulation of injured tissues, e.g., wound debridement

Possibly evidenced by

Reports of pain

Narrowed focus, facial mask of pain

Alteration in muscle tone; autonomic responses

Distraction/guarding behaviors; anxiety/fear, restlessness


Pain Level (NOC)

Report pain reduced/controlled.

Display relaxed facial expressions/body posture.

Pain Control (NOC)

Participate in activities and sleep/rest appropriately.


Pain Management (NIC)


Cover wounds as soon as possible unless open-air exposure burn care method required.

Elevate burned extremities periodically.


Temperature changes and air movement can cause great pain to exposed nerve endings.

Elevation may be required initially to reduce edema formation; thereafter, changes in position and elevation reduce discomfort and risk of joint contractures.


Pain Management (NIC)


Provide bed cradle as indicated.

Wrap digits/extremities in position of function (avoiding flexed position of affected joints) using splints and footboards as necessary.

Change position frequently and assist with active and passive ROM as indicated.

Maintain comfortable environmental temperature, provide heat lamps, heat-retaining body coverings.

Assess reports of pain, noting location/character and intensity (0–10 scale).

Provide medication and/or place in hydrotherapy (as appropriate) before performing dressing changes and debridement.

Encourage expression of feelings about pain.

Involve patient in determining schedule for activities, treatments, drug administration.

Explain procedures/provide frequent information as appropriate, especially during wound debridement.

Provide basic comfort measures, e.g., massage of uninjured areas, frequent position changes.

Encourage use of stress management techniques, e.g., progressive relaxation, deep breathing, guided imagery, and visualization.

Provide diversional activities appropriate for age/condition.

Promote uninterrupted sleep periods.


Elevation of linens off wounds may help reduce pain.

Position of function reduces deformities/contractures and promotes comfort. Although flexed position of injured joints may feel more comfortable, it can lead to flexion contractures.

Movement and exercise reduce joint stiffness and muscle fatigue, but type of exercise depends on location and extent of injury.

Temperature regulation may be lost with major burns. External heat sources may be necessary to prevent chilling.

Pain is nearly always present to some degree because of varying severity of tissue involvement/destruction but is usually most severe during dressing changes and debridement. Changes in location, character, intensity of pain may indicate developing complications (e.g., limb ischemia) or herald improvement/return of nerve function/sensation.

Reduces severe physical and emotional distress associated with dressing changes and debridement.

Verbalization allows outlet for emotions and may enhance coping mechanisms.

Enhances patient’s sense of control and strengthens coping mechanisms.

Empathic support can help alleviate pain/promote relaxation. Knowing what to expect provides opportunity for patient to prepare self and enhances sense of control.

Promotes relaxation; reduces muscle tension and general fatigue.

Refocuses attention, promotes relaxation, and enhances sense of control, which may reduce pharmacological dependency.

Helps lessen concentration on pain experience and refocus attention.

Sleep deprivation can increase perception of pain/reduce coping abilities.


Pain Management (NIC)


Administer analgesics (narcotic and nonnarcotic) as indicated, e.g., morphine; fentanyl (Sublimaze, Ultiva); hydrocodone (Vicodin, Hycodan); oxycodone(OxyContin, Percocet).

Provide/instruct in use of patient-controlled analgesia (PCA).


The burned patient may require around-the-clock medication and dose titration. IV method is often used initially to maximize drug effect. Concerns of patient addiction or doubts regarding degree of pain experienced are not valid during emergent/acute phase of care, but narcotics should be decreased as soon as feasible and alternative methods for pain relief initiated.

PCA provides for timely drug administration, preventing fluctuations in intensity of pain, often at lower total dosage than would be given by conventional methods.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Tissue Perfusion, ineffective/Peripheral Neurovascular dysfunction, risk for

Risk factors may include

Reduction/interruption of arterial/venous blood flow, e.g., circumferential burns of extremities with resultant edema


Possibly evidenced by

[Not applicable; presence of signs and symptoms establishes an actual diagnosis.]


Tissue Perfusion: Peripheral (NOC)

Maintain palpable peripheral pulses of equal quality/strength; good capillary refill and skin color normal in uninjured areas.


Circulatory Care: Venous [or] Arterial (NIC)


Assess color, sensation, movement, peripheral pulses (via Doppler), and capillary refill on extremities with circumferential burns. Compare with findings of unaffected limb.

Elevate affected extremities, as appropriate. Remove jewelry/arm band. Avoid taping around a burned extremity/digit.


Edema formation can readily compress blood vessels, thereby impeding circulation and increasing venous stasis/edema. Comparisons with unaffected limbs aid in differentiating localized versus systemic problems (e.g., hypovolemia/decreased cardiac output).

Promotes systemic circulation/venous return and may reduce edema or other deleterious effects of constriction of edematous tissues. Prolonged elevation can impair arterial perfusion if blood pressure (BP) falls or tissue pressures rise excessively.


Circulatory Care: Venous [or] Arterial (NIC)


Obtain BP in unburned extremity when possible. Remove BP cuff after each reading, as indicated.

Investigate reports of deep/throbbing ache, numbness.

Encourage active ROM exercises of unaffected body parts.

Investigate irregular pulses.


Maintain fluid replacement per protocol. (Refer to ND: Fluid Volume, risk for deficient.)

Monitor electrolytes, especially sodium, potassium, and calcium. Administer replacement therapy as indicated.

Avoid use of IM/SC injections.

Measure intracompartmental pressures as indicated. (Refer to CP: Fractures; ND: Peripheral Neurovascular dysfunction, risk for.)

Assist with/prepare for escharotomy/fasciotomy, as indicated.


If BP readings must be obtained on an injured extremity, leaving the cuff in place may increase edema formation/reduce perfusion, and convert partial-thickness burn to a more serious injury.

Indicators of decreased perfusion and/or increased pressure within enclosed space, such as may occur with a circumferential burn of an extremity (compartmental syndrome).

Promotes local and systemic circulation.

Cardiac dysrhythmias can occur as a result of electrolyte shifts, electrical injury, or release of myocardial depressant factor, compromising cardiac output/tissue perfusion.

Maximizes circulating volume and tissue perfusion.

Losses/shifts of these electrolytes affect cellular membrane potential/excitability, thereby altering myocardial conductivity, potentiating risk of dysrhythmias, and reducing cardiac output and tissue perfusion.

Altered tissue perfusion and edema formation impair drug absorption. Injections into potential donor sites may render them unusable because of hematoma formation.

Ischemic myositis may develop because of decreased perfusion.

Enhances circulation by relieving constriction caused by rigid, nonviable tissue (eschar) or edema formation.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Nutrition: imbalanced, less than body requirements

May be related to

Hypermetabolic state (can be as much as 50%–60% higher than normal proportional to the severity of injury)

Protein catabolism

Anorexia, restricted oral intake

Possibly evidenced by

Decrease in total body weight, loss of muscle mass/subcutaneous fat, and development of negative nitrogen balance


Nutritional Status (NOC)

Demonstrate nutritional intake adequate to meet metabolic needs as evidenced by stable weight/muscle-mass measurements, positive nitrogen balance, and tissue regeneration.


Nutrition Therapy (NIC)


Auscultate bowel sounds, noting hypoactive/absent sounds.

Maintain strict calorie count. Weigh daily. Reassess percentage of open body surface area/wounds weekly.

Monitor muscle mass/subcutaneous fat as indicated.

Provide small, frequent meals and snacks.

Encourage patient to view diet as a treatment and to make food/beverage choices high in calories/protein.

Ascertain food likes/dislikes. Encourage SO to bring food from home, as appropriate.

Encourage patient to sit up for meals and visit with others.

Provide oral hygiene before meals.


Ileus is often associated with postburn period but usually subsides within 36–48 hr, at which time oral feedings can be initiated.

Appropriate guides to proper caloric intake include 25 kcal/kg body weight, plus 40 kcal per percentage of TBSA burn in the adult. As burn wound heals, percentage of burned areas is reevaluated to calculate prescribed dietary formulas, and appropriate adjustments are made.

Indirect calorimetry, if available, may be useful in more accurately estimating body reserves/losses and effectiveness of therapy.

Helps prevent gastric distension/discomfort and may enhance intake.

Calories and proteins are needed to maintain weight, meet metabolic needs, and promote wound healing.

Provides patient/SO sense of control; enhances participation in care and may improve intake.

Sitting helps prevent aspiration and aids in proper digestion of food. Socialization promotes relaxation and may enhance intake.

Clean mouth/clear palate enhances taste and helps promote a good appetite.


Nutrition Therapy (NIC)


Perform fingerstick glucose, urine testing as indicated.


Refer to dietitian/nutritional support team.

Provide diet high in calories/protein with trace elements and vitamin supplements.

Insert/maintain small feeding tube for enteral feedings and supplements if needed.

Administer parenteral nutritional solutions containing vitamins and minerals, as indicated.

Monitor laboratory studies, e.g., serum albumin/
prealbumin, Cr, transferrin; urine urea nitrogen.

Administer insulin as indicated.


Monitors for development of hyperglycemia related to hormonal changes/demands or use of hyperalimentation to meet caloric needs.

Useful in establishing individual nutritional needs (based on weight and body surface area of injury) and identifying appropriate routes.

Calories (3000–5000/day), proteins, and vitamins are needed to meet increased metabolic needs, maintain weight, and encourage tissue regeneration. Note: Oral route is preferable once GI function returns.

Provides continuous/supplemental feedings when patient is unable to consume total daily calorie requirements orally. Note: Continuous tube feeding during the night increases calorie intake without decreasing appetite and oral intake during the day.

Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) maintains nutritional intake/meets metabolic needs in presence of severe complications or sustained esophageal/gastric injuries that do not permit enteral feedings.

Indicators of nutritional needs and adequacy of diet/therapy.

Elevated serum glucose levels may develop because of stress response to injury, high caloric intake, pancreatic fatigue.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Mobility, impaired physical

May be related to

Neuromuscular impairment, pain/discomfort, decreased strength and endurance

Restrictive therapies, limb immobilization; contractures

Possibly evidenced by

Reluctance to move/inability to purposefully move

Limited ROM, decreased muscle strength control and/or mass


Mobility Level (NOC)

Maintain position of function as evidenced by absence of contractures.

Maintain or increase strength and function of affected and/or compensatory body part.

Self-Care: Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) (NOC)

Verbalize and demonstrate willingness to participate in activities.

Demonstrate techniques/behaviors that enable resumption of activities.


Bed Rest Care (NIC)


Maintain proper body alignment with supports or splints, especially for burns over joints.

Note circulation, motion, and sensation of digits frequently.

Initiate the rehabilitative phase on admission.

Perform ROM exercises consistently, initially passive, then active.

Medicate for pain before activity/exercises.

Schedule treatments and care activities to provide periods of uninterrupted rest.

Encourage family/SO support and assistance with ROM exercises.

Self-Care Assistance (NIC)

Incorporate ADLs with physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and nursing care.

Encourage patient participation in all activities as individually able.


Promotes functional positioning of extremities and prevents contractures, which are more likely over joints.

Edema may compromise circulation to extremities, potentiating tissue necrosis/development of contractures.

It is easier to enlist participation when patient is aware of the possibilities that exist for recovery.

Prevents progressively tightening scar tissue and contractures; enhances maintenance of muscle/joint functioning and reduces loss of calcium from the bone.

Reduces muscle/tissue stiffness and tension, enabling patient to be more active and facilitating participation.

Increases patient’s strength and tolerance for activity.

Enables family/SO to be active in patient care and provides more constant/consistent therapy.

Combining activities produces improved results by enhancing effects of each.

Promotes independence, enhances self-esteem, and facilitates recovery process.


Self-Care Assistance (NIC)


Instruct and assist with mobility aids, e.g., cane, walker, crutches, as appropriate.

Bed Rest Care (NIC)


Provide foam, water/air mattress or kinetic therapy bed, as indicated.

Maintain pressure garment when used.

Consult with rehabilitation, physical, and occupational therapists.


Promotes safe ambulation.

Prevents prolonged pressure on tissues, reducing potential for tissue ischemia/necrosis and decubitus formation.

Hypertrophic scarring can develop around grafted areas or at the site of deep partial-thickness wounds. Pressure dressings minimize scar tissue by keeping it flat, soft, and pliable, enhancing movement.

Normally members of the burn team, these specialists provide integrated activity/exercise program and specific assistive devices based on individual needs. Consultation facilitates intensive long-term management of potential deficits.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Skin Integrity, impaired [grafts]

May be related to

Disruption of skin surface with destruction of skin layers (partial-/full-thickness burn) requiring grafting

Possibly evidenced by

Absence of viable tissue


Wound Healing: Secondary Intention (NOC)

Demonstrate tissue regeneration.

Achieve timely healing of burned areas.


Wound Care (NIC)



Assess/document size, color, depth of wound, noting necrotic tissue and condition of surrounding skin.

Provide appropriate burn care and infection control measures. (Refer to ND: Infection, risk for.)


Provides baseline information about need for skin grafting and possible clues about circulation in area to support graft.

Prepares tissues for grafting and reduces risk of infection/graft failure.


Wound Care (NIC)



Maintain wound covering as indicated, e.g.:

Biosynthetic dressing (Biobrane);

Synthetic dressings, e.g., DuoDerm;

Opsite, Acu-Derm.

Elevate grafted area if possible/appropriate. Maintain desired position and immobility of area when indicated.

Maintain dressings over newly grafted area and/or donor site as indicated, e.g., mesh, petroleum, nonadhesive.

Keep skin free from pressure.

Evaluate color of grafted and donor site(s); note presence/absence of healing.

Wash sites with mild soap, rinse, and lubricate with cream (e.g., Nivea) several times daily after dressings are removed and healing is accomplished.

Aspirate blebs under sheet grafts with sterile needle or roll with sterile swab.


Prepare for/assist with surgical grafting or biological dressings, e.g.:

Homograft (allograft);


Nylon fabric/silicon membrane containing collagenous porcine peptides that adheres to wound surface until removed or sloughed off by spontaneous skin re-epithelialization. Useful for eschar-free partial-thickness burns awaiting autografts because it can remain in place 2–3 wk or longer and is permeable to topical antimicrobial agents.

Hydroactive dressing that adheres to the skin to cover small partial-thickness burns and that interacts with wound exudate to form a soft gel that facilitates debridement.

Thin, transparent, elastic, waterproof, occlusive dressing (permeable to moisture and air) that is used to cover clean partial-thickness wounds and clean donor sites.

Reduces swelling/limits risk of graft separation. Movement of tissue under graft can dislodge it, interfering with optimal healing.

Areas may be covered by translucent, nonreactive surface material (between graft and outer dressing) to eliminate shearing of new epithelium/protect healing tissue. The donor site is usually covered for 4–24 hr, then bulky dressings are removed and fine mesh gauze is left in place.

Promotes circulation and prevents ischemia/necrosis and graft failure.

Evaluates effectiveness of circulation and identifies developing complications.

Newly grafted skin and healed donor sites require special care to maintain flexibility.

Fluid-filled blebs prevent graft adherence to underlying tissue, increasing risk of graft failure.

Skin grafts obtained from living persons or cadavers are used as a temporary covering for extensive burns until person’s own skin is ready for grafting (test graft), to cover excised wounds immediately after escharotomy, or to protect granulation tissue.


Wound Care (NIC)


Heterograft (xenograft, porcine);

Cultured epithelial autograft (CEA);

Artificial skin (Integra).


Skin grafts may be carried out with animal skin for the same purposes as homografts or to cover meshed autografts.

Skin graft obtained from uninjured part of patient’s own skin and prepared in a laboratory; may be full-thickness or partial-thickness. Note: This process takes 20–30 days from harvest to application. The new CEA sheets are 1–6 cell layers thick and thus are very fragile.

Wound covering approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for full-thickness and deep partial-thickness burns. It provides a permanent, immediate covering that reproduces the skin’s normal functions and stimulates the regeneration of dermal tissue.


May be related to

Situational crises: hospitalization/isolation procedures, interpersonal transmission and contagion, memory of the trauma experience, threat of death and/or disfigurement

Possibly evidenced by

Expressed concern regarding changes in life, fear of unspecific consequences

Apprehension; increased tension

Feelings of helplessness, uncertainty, decreased self-assurance

Sympathetic stimulation, extraneous movements, restlessness, insomnia


Fear [or] Anxiety Control (NOC)

Verbalize awareness of feelings and healthy ways to deal with them.

Report anxiety/fear reduced to manageable level.

Demonstrate problem-solving skills, effective use of resources.


Anxiety Reduction (NIC)


Provide frequent explanations and information about care procedures. Repeat information as needed/desired.


Knowing what to expect usually reduces fear and anxiety, clarifies misconceptions, and promotes cooperation. Note: Because of the shock of the initial trauma, many people do not recall information provided during that time.


Anxiety Reduction (NIC)


Demonstrate willingness to listen and talk to patient when free of painful procedures.

Involve patient/SO in decision-making process whenever possible. Provide time for questioning and repetition of proposed treatments.

Assess mental status, including mood/affect, comprehension of events, and content of thoughts, e.g., illusions or manifestations of terror/panic.

Investigate changes in mentation and presence of hypervigilance, hallucinations, sleep disturbances (e.g., nightmares), agitation/apathy, disorientation, and labile affect, all of which may vary from moment to moment.

Provide constant and consistent orientation.

Encourage patient to talk about the burn circumstances when ready.

Explain to patient what happened. Provide opportunity for questions and give open/honest answers.

Identify previous methods of coping/handling of stressful situations.

Create a restful environment, use guided imagery and relaxation exercises.

Assist the family to express their feelings of grief and guilt.

Be empathetic and nonjudgmental in dealing with patient and family.

Encourage family/SO to visit and discuss family happenings. Remind patient of past and future events.


Helps patient/SO know that support is available and that healthcare provider is interested in the person, not just care of the burn.

Promotes sense of control and cooperation, decreasing feelings of helplessness/hopelessness.

Initially, patient may use denial and repression to reduce and filter information that might be overwhelming. Some patients display calm manner and alert mental status, representing a dissociation from reality, which is also a protective mechanism.

Indicators of extreme anxiety/delirium state in which patient is literally fighting for life. Although cause can be psychologically based, pathological life-threatening causes (e.g., shock, sepsis, hypoxia) must be ruled out.

Helps patient stay in touch with surroundings and reality.

Patient may need to tell the story of what happened over and over to make some sense out of a terrifying situation. Adjustment to the impact of the trauma, grief over losses and disfigurement can easily lead to clinical depression, psychosis, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Compassionate statements reflecting the reality of the situation can help patient/SO acknowledge that reality and begin to deal with what has happened.

Past successful behavior can be used to assist in dealing with the present situation.

Patients experience severe anxiety associated with burn trauma and treatment. These interventions are soothing and helpful for positive outcomes.

The family may initially be most concerned about patient’s dying and/or feel guilty, believing that in some way they could have prevented the incident.

Family relationships are disrupted; financial, lifestyle/role changes make this a difficult time for those involved with patient, and they may react in many different ways.

Maintains contact with a familiar reality, creating a sense of attachment and continuity of life.


Anxiety Reduction (NIC)


Involve entire burn team in care from admission to discharge, including social worker and psychiatric resources.

Administer mild sedation as indicated, lorazepam (Ativan), alprazolam (Xanax), midazolam (Versed).


Provides a wider support system and promotes continuity of care and coordination of activities.

Antianxiety medications may be necessary for a brief period until patient is more physically stable and internal locus of control is regained.

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Body Image disturbed/Role Performance, ineffective

May be related to

Situational crisis: traumatic event, dependent patient role; disfigurement, pain

Possibly evidenced by

Negative feelings about body/self, fear of rejection/reaction by others

Focus on past appearance, abilities; preoccupation with change/loss

Change in physical capacity to resume role; change in social involvement


Body Image (NOC)

Incorporate changes into self-concept without negating self-esteem.

Verbalize acceptance of self in situation.

Role Performance (NOC)

Talk with family/SO about situation, changes that have occurred.

Develop realistic goals/plans for the future.


Body Image [or] Role Enhancement (NIC)


Assess meaning of loss/change to patient/SO, including future expectations and impact of cultural/religious beliefs.

Acknowledge and accept expression of feelings of frustration, dependency, anger, grief, and hostility. Note withdrawn behavior and use of denial.


Traumatic episode results in sudden, unanticipated changes, creating feelings of grief over actual/perceived losses. This necessitates support to work through to optimal resolution.

Acceptance of these feelings as a normal response to what has occurred facilitates resolution. It is not helpful or possible to push patient before ready to deal with situation. Denial may be prolonged and be an adaptive mechanism because patient is not ready to cope with personal problems.


Body Image [or] Role Enhancement (NIC)


Set limits on maladaptive behavior (e.g., manipulative/ aggressive). Maintain nonjudgmental attitude while giving care, and help patient identify positive behaviors that will aid in recovery.

Be realistic and positive during treatments, in health teaching, and in setting goals within limitations.

Encourage patient/SO to view wounds and assist with care as appropriate.

Provide hope within parameters of individual situation; do not give false reassurance.

Assist patient to identify extent of actual change in appearance/body function.

Give positive reinforcement of progress and encourage endeavors toward attainment of rehabilitation goals.

Show slides or pictures of burn care/other patient outcomes, being selective in what is shown as appropriate to the individual situation. Encourage discussion of feelings about what patient has seen.

Encourage family interaction with each other and with rehabilitation team.

Provide support group for SO. Give information about how SO can be helpful to patient.

Role-play social situations of concern to patient.


Refer to physical/occupational therapy, vocational counselor, and psychiatric counseling, e.g., clinical specialist psychiatric nurse, social services, psychologist, as needed.


Patient and SO tend to deal with this crisis in the same way in which they have dealt with problems in the past. Staff may find it difficult and frustrating to handle behavior that is disrupting/not helpful to recuperation but should realize that the behavior is usually directed toward the situation and not the caregiver.

Enhances trust and rapport between patient and nurse.

Promotes acceptance of reality of injury and of change in body and image of self as different.

Promotes positive attitude and provides opportunity to set goals and plan for future based on reality.

Helps begin process of looking to the future and how life will be different.

Words of encouragement can support development of positive coping behaviors.

Allows patient/SO to be realistic in expectations. Also assists in demonstration of importance of/necessity for certain devices and procedures.

Maintains/opens lines of communication and provides ongoing support for patient and family.

Promotes ventilation of feelings and allows for more helpful responses to patient.

Prepares patient/SO for reactions of others and anticipates ways to deal with them.

Helpful in identifying ways/devices to regain and maintain independence. Patient may need further assistance to resolve persistent emotional problems (e.g., posttrauma response).

NURSING DIAGNOSIS: Knowledge, deficient [Learning Need] regarding condition, prognosis, treatment, self-care, and discharge needs

May be related to

Lack of exposure/recall

Information misinterpretation; unfamiliarity with resources

Possibly evidenced by

Questions/request for information, statement of misconception

Inaccurate follow-through of instructions, development of preventable complications


Knowledge: Disease Process (NOC)

Verbalize understanding of condition, prognosis, and potential complications.

Knowledge: Treatment Regimen (NOC)

Verbalize understanding of therapeutic needs.

Correctly perform necessary procedures and explain reasons for actions.

Initiate necessary lifestyle changes and participate in treatment regimen.


Teaching: Disease Process (NIC)


Review condition, prognosis, and future expectations.

Discuss patient’s expectations of returning home, to work, and to normal activities.

Review and have patient/SO demonstrate proper burn, skin-graft, and wound care techniques. Identify appropriate sources for outpatient care and supplies.

Discuss skin care, e.g., use of moisturizers, sunscreens, and anti-itching medications.

Explain scarring process and necessity for/proper use of pressure garments when used.

Encourage continuation of prescribed exercise program and scheduled rest periods.


Provides knowledge base from which patient can make informed choices.

Patient frequently has a difficult and prolonged adjustment after discharge. Problems often occur (e.g., sleep disturbances, nightmares, reliving the accident, difficulty with resumption of social interactions, intimacy/sexual activity, emotional lability) that interfere with successful adjustment to resuming normal life.

Promotes competent self-care after discharge, enhancing independence.

Itching, blistering, and sensitivity of healing wounds/graft sites can be expected for an extended time, and injury can occur because of the fragility of the new tissue.

Promotes optimal regrowth of skin, minimizing development of hypertrophic scarring and contractures and facilitating healing process. Note: Consistent use of the pressure garment over a long period can reduce the need for reconstructive surgery to release contractures and remove scars.

Maintains mobility, reduces complications, and prevents fatigue, facilitating recovery process.


Teaching: Disease Process (NIC)


Identify specific limitations of activity as individually appropriate.

Emphasize importance of sustained intake of high-protein/ high-calorie meals and snacks.

Review medications, including purpose, dosage, route, and expected/reportable side effects.

Advise patient/SO of potential for exhaustion, boredom, emotional lability, adjustment problems. Provide information about possibility of discussion/interaction with appropriate professional counselors.

Identify signs/symptoms requiring medical evaluation, e.g., inflammation, increase or changes in wound drainage, fever/chills; changes in pain characteristics or loss of mobility/function.

Stress necessity/importance of follow-up care/

Provide phone number for contact person.

Identify community resources, e.g., skin/wound care professionals, crisis centers, recovery groups, mental health, Red Cross, visiting nurse, Ambli-Cab, homemaker service.


Imposed restrictions depend on severity/location of injury and stage of healing.

Optimal nutrition enhances tissue regeneration and general feeling of well-being. Note: Patient often needs to increase caloric intake to meet calorie and protein needs for healing.

Reiteration allows opportunity for patient to ask questions and be sure understanding is accurate.

Provides perspective to some of the problems patient/SO may encounter, and aids awareness that assistance is available when necessary.

Early detection of developing complications (e.g., infection, delayed healing) may prevent progression to more serious/life-threatening situations.

Long-term support with continual reevaluation and changes in therapy is required to achieve optimal recovery.

Provides easy access to treatment team to reinforce teaching, clarify misconceptions, and reduce potential for complications.

Facilitates transition to home, provides assistance with meeting individual needs, and supports independence.

POTENTIAL CONSIDERATIONS following acute hospitalization (dependent on patient’s age, physical condition/presence of complications, personal resources, and life responsibilities)

Coping, ineffective—situational crisis; vulnerability.

Disuse Syndrome, risk for—severe pain, prescribed immobilization/restrictive therapies.

Self-Esteem, situational low—change in health status/independent functioning, perceived loss of control in some aspect of life.

Therapeutic Regimen: ineffective management—complexity of medical regimen, added demands made on individual/family, social support deficits.

Post-Trauma Syndrome—catastrophic accident/injury to self and possibly others.