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TOTAL BURN CARE
Reprinted with permission of Elsevier
(excerpt from chapter 1, pages 11 and 13)
Teamwork for total burn care:
achievements, directions and hopes
Findings of the group at the Army Surgical Research Institute pointed out the necessity of involving many disciplines in the treatment of patients with major burn injuries and stressed the utility of a team concept.¹ The International Society of Burn Injuries and its journal, Burns, and the American Burn Association with its publication, Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation, have publicized to widespread audiences the notion of successful multidisciplinary work by burn teams.
Functioning of a burn team
Gathering together a group of experts from diverse disciplines will not constitute a team.43 In fact, the diversity of the disciplines, in addition to individual differences of gender, ethnicity, values, professional experience and professional status render such teamwork a process fraught with opportunities for disagreements, jealousies and confusion.44 The process of working together to accomplish the primary goal, i.e. a burn survivor who returns to a normally functional life, is further is complicated by the requirement that the patient, and family of the patient, collaborate with the professionals. It is not unusual for the patient to attempt to diminish his immediate discomfort by pitting one team member against another or 'splitting' the team. Much as young children will try to manipulate parents by going first to one and then to the other, patients, too, will complain about one staff member to another or assert to one staff member that another staff member allows less demanding rehabilitation exercises or some special privilege.45 Time must be devoted to a process of trust-building among the team members. It is imperative that the team communicate - openly and frequently - or the group will lose effectiveness.
2. Bull JP, Fisher AJ. A study of mortality in a burns unit: a revised
43. Schofield RF, Amodeo M. Interdisciplinary teams in health care and human services settings: are they effective. Health and Social Work 1999; 24(3): 210
44. Fallowfield L, Jenkins V. Effective communication skills are the
key to good cancer care.
45. Perl E. Treatment team in conflict: the wishes for and risks of consensus. Psychiatry 1997; 60(2): 182.
This article was excerpted from the book
Total Burn Care, 2nd edition (2001), edited by David N. Herndon,
M.D. and is posted with permission from Elsevier.
(This link takes you to the "Total Burn
Care" page at the publishers web site.)
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