Miami Valley Hospital's Adult Burn Center is the recognized facility in west-central Ohio for the treatment of adult burn patients. A team of specialists — including physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, a dietitian, pharmacist, social worker, and psychologist— utilizes a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. The eight-bed unit allows burn patients to be cared for in the same area from admission to discharge, thus reducing the risk of infection.
The burn center was established in 1975 for the specialized care of burn patients. The original program was founded by Dr. Robert Finley, professor emeritus, and Vickey Little, R.N., a graduate of the MVH school of nursing. These two individuals provided specialized care for burn patients for the 20-25 burn patients treated each year. In 1975 the dietary department centralized all kitchen facilities, releasing areas on each patient floor that had previously been used for the preparation of patient trays. The kitchen area on the fourth floor was modified under a grant from the John A. Theele Foundation for a central burn treatment facility that included a high flow air filtration system and specialized equipment for the management of the burn care.
Over the next several years there were significant increases in the number of burn patients, necessitating the planning and eventual construction of a fully integrated eight-bed burn center in 1983. The current burn center admits approximately 200 patients per year with an "always open" admission policy. The average census is approximately seven patients per day, however, it has on occasions been as high as 23.
The burn center functions under the team concept with specialized burn treatment nurses; burn physical and occupational therapists; a burn psycho-social team composed of a psychologist, social worker, and chaplain; as well as a burn dietitian and a pharmacist. A weekly burn conference is held, at which time all patients' clinical data is reviewed and plans for the care of the patients for the following week are made.
Two significant functions of the burn center, in addition to patient care, are education and research. The burn center provides the best teaching example of a truly functioning health care delivery team. The philosophy of the burn center is that all members of the burn team should be aware of the patient's need and should be mutually supportive of the long-range goals of the patient regardless of discipline. For example, it is not only the dietitian's responsibility to encourage the patients to consume the necessary calories needed for healing of their burn wound, but also a function of all members of the burn team to support patients in achieving this goal. These calorie requirements frequently exceed 5,000 per day over some four to six weeks of hospitalization. This fully integrated health care delivery team serves as the best example of a team health caregiving in the hospital setting.
A wide variety of students participate in the activities of the burn center. In addition to students from Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine and School of Nursing, Kinesiology, and Health Sciences, students from the School of Professional Psychology and in the various undergraduate disciplines, including counseling and social service, have been assigned to the burn center. Students from outside universities, including physical and occupational therapy students and dietary interns, participate in the activities of the burn center.
Because of the burn center's relatively closed medical staff, it has served as an excellent site for both basic and clinical research. The research program at the burn center dates back to its beginning, at which time projects primarily looked at the numbers of patients and types of injuries. Today a vigorous research program produces scholarly presentation at regional and national meetings on a regular basis. Basic research looking at new products for use with the burn patients are carried out. New product applications and alternate forms of patient care are regularly evaluated.
For medical students, their first exposure to either basic or clinical research frequently comes during the summer between their first and second years, when a variety of projects are available in the burn center. Many of these student researchers have gone on to academic careers and have continued to actively perform both clinical and basic research.
The Miami Valley Hospital Adult Burn Center in conjunction with the Department of Surgery at Wright State University is a mature program providing specialized burn care to patients in our 10 county area of Southwest Ohio. An active program of both basic and clinical research in the burn center is involved in advancing the quality of care and has made major contributions on a national and international basis.