Burn Center

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Positioning

Correct positioning of a burned area is very important during healing. At first, the goal is to reduce swelling through proper positioning. Another goal of positioning is to make it as easy as possible to regain normal motions after a burn. As the skin heals, it shrinks and makes it difficult to move joints normally. By using special splints and positioning equipment, normal joint motion can be maintained. Therapists and nurses will set up the positioning programs and make sure that patients follow their program.

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Arm wedge

Arm wedge

Using foam arm wedges will reduce swelling in the hands and arms and prevent healing skin from shrinking/contracting. When the skin around the shoulders is burned, arms should be positioned in the arm wedges with the shoulders in 90 degrees of flexion/abduction. The wedge is secured to the bedside table next to the bed or chair.

An arm wedge is used to reduce swelling by keeping the arm elevated above the level of your heart. A second goal for using wedges for burns that are under the arm would be to keep the skin under the arms stretched out.

 
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Arm wedges on airplane trough

Neck positioning

A foam wedge is often used to position the neck when there are burns in the front of the neck. It keeps the head in a neutral or slightly extended position to prevent skin from shortening and contracting.

 
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Tall walker

Tall walker

When a person has burns to their hands and arms, a tall walker can be used to keep arms elevated for edema control and to keep shoulders from contracting when patient is walking. The rolling walker has an overhead bar that a person holds onto while walking. This walker is available for use while in the hospital.