MethodsA national survey of initial management of paediatric scalds ≤5% Total Body Surface Area (%TBSA) was sent to 14 burns services in E&W. Skin graft rates of anonymised burns services over seven years were collected from the international Burns Injury Database (iBID). Average skin grafting rates across services were compared. Length of stay and proportion of patients receiving general anaesthesia for dressing application at each service were also compared.
ResultsAll 14 burns services responded to the survey. Only 50% of services had a protocol in place for the management of small area burns. All protocols varied in how partial thickness paediatrics scalds ≤5% TBSA should be managed. There was no consensus as to which scalds should be treated using biosynthetic dressings.
Data from iBID for 11,917 patients showed that the average reported skin grafting rate across all burns services was 2.3% (95% CI 2.1, 2.6) but varied from 0.3% to 7.1% (P < 0.001). Service provider remained associated with likelihood of skin grafting when variations in the %TBSA case mix seen by each service were controlled for (χ2 = 87.3, P < 0.001). The use of general anaesthetics across services varied between 0.6 and 35.5% (P < 0.001). The median length of stay across services varied from 1 to 3 days (P < 0.001).DiscussionA lack of evidence guiding management of small-area paediatric scalds has resulted in variation in management of these injuries across E&W. There is also significant variation in outcomes for these injuries. Further research is indicated to determine if care pathways and outcomes are linked. An evidence-based national policy for the management of small area paediatric scalds would ensure that high quality, standardised care is delivered throughout E&W and variations in outcome are reduced.
- Biosynthetic dressing
- Skin graft