Developing practical guidelines and checklists for global burn care (February 2017)

February 28, 2017
Richard Bendell

In February 2017, Interburns held an international consensus meeting in Kathmandu Nepal to develop practical guidelines and checklists for burn care that can be used by individual clinicians working in resource-poor settings globally. The meeting was held over 5 days and included staff with a range of expertise including plastic surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and policy-makers. The 30 participants were from 9 countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nepal and the West Bank, plus the USA, UK and Switzerland.

One of the key adaptations made to the meeting based on feedback from the participants was a shift away from unit-level policies to practical, actionable checklists that could be used by the staff team of a burn service in their daily practice. The participants felt that drafting unit-level policies would simply create policies that were formally adopted but of limited practical use in the daily operation of a service. Therefore, the programme was adapted to develop a number of checklists for key areas of practice – a daily checklist for a burns patient, checklists for discharge and follow-up, infection prevention/identification/control, pain management, surgical care, wound care etc. The meeting also reviewed the clinical guidelines developed by the International Society for Burn Injuries and examined how these could be practically implemented in low income settings.

Ultimately, while these new resources have been developed with the initial aim of piloting them in services in Bangladesh and Nepal, our aim is for them to be globally relevant as a tool that is appropriate for service in resource-poor settings worldwide (whether in LMICs or conflict scenarios). These resources will be integrated into the wider capacity-building approach used by Interburns, which combines assessment, research, education and training with prevention programmes and advocacy, all developed and delivered in close collaboration with local teams.

Interburns would like to give a special thank you to the UK Department for International Development (UKAID) for funding this programme, as part of a larger multi-year project to improve burn care and prevention in Bangladesh, Nepal and other resource-poor countries globally. Thanks also to our partners in Nepal, Nepal Burn Society, for their role in hosting and organising the meeting, particularly programme manager Anil Dhital.