Patient assessment


Key points that should be ascertained include: 1

• Mechanism
• Timing
• Details of injury
• Age

  • Burn agent (flame, chemical, etc.)
  • What treatment/first aid has already been administered?
  • Possibility of other injuries (i.e. if explosion, then possible internal injuries)
  • Risk of inhalation injuries (if burn occurred in an enclosed space)


Timing - when did the injury occur and how long was the patient exposed to the source of the burn

  • If liquid, was it boiling?
  • If tea or coffee, was there milk in it?
  • If electrocution, what voltage?
  • If chemical, what was the chemical?

The age of patient - extremes of age (under 5 or over 60 years of age) indicate referral

Pre-existing illnesses and drug sensitivities or allergies.
The patient's tetanus immunisation status.

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