I am writing with deepest thanks and appreciation for the opportunity that the ABA Cheryl Jordan Scholarship has granted me. The knowledge that I have gained from my three day visit to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Jaycee Burn Center has allowed me to grow as a Burn Therapist and was more valuable than any conference that I could have attended. I did a lot of research when determining which verified burn center I was interested in visiting and picked the Jaycee Burn Center for their unprecedented patient outcomes, while treating a high acuity of patients, a 36 bed unit with an average of 1600 annual admissions. Furthermore, the Jaycee Burn Center was similar to Maine Medical Center in their large geographical area that they service, including a very rural, poor patient demographic, as well as the size of their hospital and number of Burn Therapists.
My primary learning objectives that I hoped to achieve from my visit included all domains of splinting, scar management, addressing adequate pain control, the role of therapeutic rec and patient/family survivor support; all of these objectives were achieved and exceeded my expectations. The Occupational Therapists and Assistants, a team of six outstanding clinicians, manage all of the splinting whether it be an ear, mouth, hand or even an ankle, and they regularly go to the operating room to fit and position these splints following skin grafting. It was highly beneficial to explore the splinting materials they frequently utilize including san splint, ottoform, silicone, etc. and the considerations when fabricating custom anti-deformity splints. There were many aspects of care that were similar in both of our facilities, validating my skills and knowledge, including use of Eucerin lotion to hydrate healed skin and use with scar massage or release prior to range of motion, range of motion techniques, positioning considerations and edema management through elevation and compression wrapping. I had the opportunity to meet separately with the therapeutic Recreational Therapists to discover the use of virtual reality to help with anxiety and pain and the director of the After-Care Program. The After-Care offers weekly support groups, a kid’s summer camp, an adult retreat and a yearly survivor celebration event; it is my goal to develop a support group at Maine Medical Center in order to develop a community of support and continued healing beyond their acute recovery.
My learning experience was remarkable thanks to the Cheryl Jordan Scholarship, the American Burn Association, and the outstanding burn team at the Jaycee Burn Center. It was clear that all caregivers of the burn team have mutual respect, communication and understanding of patient needs to achieve the highest degree of recovery, both emotionally and physically. The burn team builds a life-long relationship with the survivors (pediatrics and adults), caring for them through acute admission, inpatient care, outpatient follow-up and community re-entry.
I cannot express my gratitude for this opportunity and the wealth of knowledge I have gained from this award. Thank you again to the American Burn Association, the Cheryl Jordan Scholarship and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Jaycee Burn Center.
By: Raechell Kearney, MS OTR/L; Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine
2018 ABA Cheryl Jordan Scholarship Recipient